Troubling kinship: Sacred marriage and gender configuration in South India



Patterns of kin-making among devadasis in northern Karnataka pose problems for anthropological charting of kinship and for state projects of family normalization. Given to the goddess Yellamma by her family in a rite of marriage, a devadasi becomes a person who is both a woman and a son. Such a person cannot be mapped within a structuralist calculus of kin in which every position is always already gendered. I elaborate kin-making as a technology for producing gender and value in persons who can inhabit, but may confound, alignments between sex, gender, and kin position that have been smuggled into the anthropological project as kinship.