Sociology Seminar Series : Phantoms of Pain | Shiv Nadar University
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Sociology Seminar Series : Phantoms of Pain

Event Date: 
Thursday, April 14, 2022 -

The Department of Sociology, Shiv Nadar University Delhi-NCR, invites you to the seminar titled ‘Phantoms of Pain’ by Dr. Shagufta Bhangu, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, King’s College, London on Thursday, 14 April 2022 from 12:00PM to 2:00PM. The seminar will be held online.

Phantom pains are a common and persistent phenomenon following traumatic injuries. Many researchers, across disciplinary boundaries have tried to take up the challenge of understanding and explaining its presence and persistence. Through a detailed analysis of one patient’s journey in a pain management clinic in Kolkata, this paper analyses how phantom pains are granted material legitimacy and evidence in the clinic. The paper describes the linguistic, bodily and inscriptive homes which are crafted for pain to inhabit. It is in these habitats that clinicians and patients engage to further diagnostic and therapeutic work. However, the elusiveness of phantom pains persists. Phantoms of pain reside but evade capture in material, somatic and linguistic homes and continue to haunt afflicted patients and clinical spaces. In this story, we encounter the successes and failures of pain medicine in contemporary eastern India in addressing phantoms of pain.

Shagufta completed her PhD in Sociology from Shiv Nadar University in 2021. Her research explores the emergence of new medical fields and imaginaries in South Asia. Shagufta’s doctoral research explored the medicalisation of pain, medical epistemics and practices in a milieu of dwindling state-supported healthcare, industrial labour and chronic illness in Kolkata, India.

She is currently working as a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at King’s College, London as a member of Carlo Caduff’s Grid Oncoloy project team, researching the emergence and formation of the national cancer grid in India. She is currently conducting fieldwork in southern Assam, studying the medical and social constitutions of cancer. A detailed profile can be accessed here: and more on her current project can be accessed here:

Thursday 14, Apr 2022
12:00 PM - 02:00 PM