cover of book

Sugar and Tension: Diabetes and Gender in Modern India
by Lesley Jo Weaver
Rutgers University Press, 2019
eISBN: 978-1-9788-0303-9 | Paper: 978-1-9788-0300-8 | Cloth: 978-1-9788-0301-5
Library of Congress Classification RA645.D5W43 2018
Dewey Decimal Classification 362.19646200954


Women in North India are socialized to care for others, so what do they do when they get a disease like diabetes that requires intensive self-care? In Sugar and Tension, Lesley Jo Weaver uses women’s experiences with diabetes in New Delhi as a lens to explore how gendered roles and expectations are taking shape in contemporary India. Weaver argues that although women’s domestic care of others may be at odds with the self-care mandates of biomedically-managed diabetes, these roles nevertheless do important cultural work that may buffer women’s mental and physical health by fostering social belonging. Weaver describes how women negotiate the many responsibilities in their lives when chronic disease is at stake. As women weigh their options, the choices they make raise questions about whose priorities should count in domestic, health, and family worlds. The varied experiences of women illustrate that there are many routes to living well or poorly with diabetes, and these are not always the ones canonized in biomedical models of diabetes management.  

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