Mundane energies: The working body as a heat source in the Indian Himalayas

Heid Jerstad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article takes the case of heating the body to show how non-commodified energy forms make up part of the thermal landscape in Pahari villages, like Gau, in the Indian Himalayas. In Gau, the person is a resource as well as a beneficiary in the household, and through the activity of labour, the person produces energy which heats the body in the winter chill. This energy helps ensure the capacity to continue to do work, as it safeguards the body from the debilitating risks to health from the cold. Working life in Gau is irreconcilable with the room-heating model of domestic thermal regulation. The idea of heating the walled space around the body becomes superfluous as it is the active body which heats and is heated in the direct carrying out of tasks necessary to the sustenance of the household.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-11
Number of pages4
JournalAnthropology Today (AT)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


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