Emplacement and contamination: Mediation of Navajo identity through excorporated blood

Maureen Trudelle Schwarz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


On the heels of colonization, missionization, capitalistic development and globalization, contemporary members of the Navajo Nation are daily inundated with a variety of tensions associated with the 'politics of identity'. Based on recent consultations with Navajo of all walks of life about how they accommodate biomedical technologies within their religiously and medically pluralistic world, this article demonstrates how Navajo people anchor relatedness within their sacred space through the use of language, detached bodily substances or parts, and ritualized practices. These speech acts and practices, which are routinely done in the simultaneous process of person-and-place building, are also done to intentionally reinforce fragile social relations or perhaps more importantly to re-embed disrupted social relations through the process of emplacement. Using ethnographic information about Navajo views on the bioeconomy of excorporated bodily substances, this article considers how Navajo people specifically use decisions regarding blood donation or transfusion to strengthen individual and collective identity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-168
Number of pages24
JournalBody and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009


  • Allopathic technology
  • Religious and medical pluralism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Cultural Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'Emplacement and contamination: Mediation of Navajo identity through excorporated blood'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this