Accepted Paper:

Exploring possible futures through horoscope reading  
Soumhya Venkatesan (University of Manchester)

Paper short abstract:

This paper focuses on the widespread practice of reading horoscopes in Hindu India as a way of identifying particular life paths. Based on ethnography in south India, the paper suggests that consulting astrologers enables parents to contemplate potentially risky futures for their children, particularly girls.

Paper long abstract:

Horoscopes have long been consulted in India to decide on the right choice of a marriage partner by parents of marriageable children. However, horoscopes are increasingly being consulted to make other kinds of decision including whether to let a girl pursue tertiary education, go for a particular career etc. I suggest that this is happening because of the expensive and risky commitment implied by tertiary education and also the desire to seek an authoritative legitimisation to let a sexually mature girl follow her desires to study or work. For this, however, the choice of astrologer is important. Destiny and fate are here intertwined with the choice to seek out a particular astrologer and therefore open to manipulation.

Panel P092
Destiny, fate, predestination: ethnographies of changing forms of political and intimate life