The Limits of Diagnosis: Sex, Law, and Psychiatry in a Case of Contested Marriage


  • Sarah Pinto


In India, psychiatrists are often called on to offer diagnostic evaluations in cases of contested marriage, providing a form of adjudication at the crux of medicine, law, and kin-life. In this article I consider one such case, asking how its complexities expose fissures in the structures of knowledge that attend to damaged sexual subjects. Suggesting that a “hermeneutics of discord”—forming an account out of several contradictory stories—offers insight into kinship relations as they are refashioned in the shadow of authoritative agents, I ask, what are the gendered stakes of the relationship of law to medicine? What kind of “truth” is possible at this juncture? And what disciplinary capacities are engaged and delimited in the social process of diagnosis (not just its ends)? [gender, psychiatry, law, mental illness, marriage, kinship]