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Indian AsceticismPower, Violence, and Play$
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Carl Olson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190225315

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190225315.001.0001

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Language and Power

Language and Power

(p.116) 5 Language and Power
Indian Asceticism

Carl Olson

Oxford University Press

This chapter is a continuation of a discussion of violence and how it is related to language for Indian ascetics. The chapter examines the nature of language in Indian culture, and the power embodied in language, mantras, curses, and speech acts. It also examines the fear of ascetics generated by their ability to curse others. The ascetic’s use of a curse with relation to power is ambiguous, but it does function as a speech act that can make something happen. Finally, the question about the ascetic’s possible relation to sadomasochism is raised, but the chapter concludes that the ascetic does not fit the definition.

Keywords:   language, act of truth, violence, fear, mantra, curse, speech act, sadomasochism

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