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FROM FILTH TO DEFILEMENT 79

trollable generative mother repels me from the body; I give up cannibalism because abjection (of the mother) leads me toward respect for the body of the other, my fellow man, my brother. DEFILEMENT AND ENDOGAMY IN INDIA It is of course the hierarchic caste system in India that provides the most complex and striking instance of a social, moral, and religious system based on pollution and purification, on the pure and the impure. It is worth confronting, as Louis Dumont has done, this hierarchic system with the regulation of marriage.23 Dumont concludes that the endogamy in castes is only a consequence of the initial hierarchic principle based on the opposition pure/impure. Without going into the details of his demonstration or into the numerous infractions to endogamy— which are moreover inscribed naturally within the hierarchic order, complicating it and strengthening it—I shall, for my purpose, note the following. The endogamic principle inherent in caste system amounts, as everywhere else, to having the individual marry within his group, or rather to his being prohibited from marrying outside of it. Endogamy, in Indian castes, implies in addition a specific filiation: the passing on of membership in the group by both parents at the same time. The result of such a regulation is in fact a balancing, symbolic and real, of the role of both sexes within that socio-symbolic unit constituted by caste. The highly hierarchical nature of Indian society does not come into play between the sexes, at least not where filiation is concerned—a major criterion of power in those societies. One could say that caste is a hierarchic device that, in addition to professional specializations, insures, in the passing on of group membership, an equal share to the father and to the mother. Starting from there, the question as to whether the pure/ impure opposition determines the hierarchic order, or whether caste endogamy is the initial principle, appears in a different light. Let us put aside the debate over cause and effect, the chicken and the egg. Let me note only that in an organization like this one, without classic exogamy, social order is not elab-

Powers of Horror  

Powers of Horror-Julia Kristeva

Powers of Horror  

Powers of Horror-Julia Kristeva

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