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A Companion to the Anthropology of Death

A Companion to the Anthropology of Death

Antonius C. G. M. Robben (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-119-22231-6

Apr 2018, Wiley-Blackwell

544 pages

$172.99

Description

A thought-provoking examination of death, dying, and the afterlife

Prominent scholars present their most recent work about mortuary rituals, grief and mourning, genocide, cyclical processes of life and death, biomedical developments, and the materiality of human corpses in this unique and illuminating book. Interrogating our most common practices surrounding death, the authors ask such questions as: How does the state wrest away control over the dead from bereaved relatives? Why do many mourners refuse to cut their emotional ties to the dead and nurture lasting bonds? Is death a final condition or can human remains acquire agency? The book is a refreshing reassessment of these issues and practices, a source of theoretical inspiration in the study of death.

With contributions written by an international team of experts in their fields, A Companion to the Anthropology of Death is presented in six parts and covers such subjects as: Governing the Dead in Guatemala; After Death Communications (ADCs) in North America; Cryonic Suspension in the Secular Age; Blood and Organ Donation in China; The Fragility of Biomedicine; and more. A Companion to the Anthropology of Death is a comprehensive and accessible volume and an ideal resource for senior undergraduate and graduate students in courses such as Anthropology of Death, Medical Anthropology, Anthropology of Violence, Anthropology of the Body, and Political Anthropology.

  • Written by leading international scholars in their fields
  • A comprehensive survey of the most recent empirical research in the anthropology of death
  • A fundamental critique of the early 20th century founding fathers of the anthropology of death
  • Cross-cultural texts from tribal and industrial societies
  • The collection is of interest to anyone concerned with the consequences of the state and massive violence on life and death

Notes on Contributors ix

An Anthropology of Death for the Twenty‐First Century xv
Antonius C. G. M. Robben

Part I Mortuary Rituals 1

1 Governing the Dead in Guatemala: Public Authority and Dead Bodies 3
Finn Stepputat

2 Evolving Mortuary Rituals in Contemporary Japan 17
Yohko Tsuji

3 Revealing Brands, Concealing Labor 31
George Sanders

4 Playing with Corpses: Assembling Bodies for the Dead in Southwest China 45
Erik Mueggler

5 Death and Separation in Postconflict Timor‐Leste 59
Judith Bovensiepen

6 Migration, Death, and Conspicuous Redistribution in Southeastern Nigeria 71
Daniel Jordan Smith

Part II Emotions 85

7 After Death: Event, Narrative, Feeling 87
Michael Lambek

8 Reflections on the Work of Recovery, I and II 103
Beth A. Conklin

9 The Pursuit of Sorrow and the Ethics of Crying 117
Olivier Allard

10 Mourning as Mutuality 131
Jason Danely

11 A Comparative Study of Jewish Israeli and Buddhist Khmer Trauma Descendant Discontinued Bonds with the Genocide Dead 145
Carol A. Kidron

12 Facing Death: On Mourning, Empathy, and Finitude 161
Devin Flaherty and C. Jason Throop

Part III Massive Death 175

13 What Is a Mass Grave? Toward an Anthropology of Human Remains Treatment in Contemporary Contexts of Mass Violence 177
Élisabeth Anstett

14 Death on the Move: Pantheons and Reburials in Spanish Civil War Exhumations 189
Francisco Ferrándiz

15 Accountability for Mass Death, Acts of Rescue, and Silence in Rwanda 205
Jennie E. Burnet

16 Impassable Visions: The Cambodia to Come, the Detritus in its Wake 223
Hudson McFann and Alexander Laban Hinton

17 Experience, Empathy, and Flexibility: On Participant Observation in Deadly Fields 237
Ivana Maceǩ

Part IV Regeneration 249

18 Learning How to Die 251
Robert Desjarlais

19 Whirlpools, Glitter, and Ferocious Intruders: The Palpability of Death in Chachi Animism 265
Istvan Praet

20 Shamanic Rebirth and the Paradox of Disremembering the Dead among Mapuche in Chile 279
Ana Mariella Bacigalupo

21 After‐Death Communications: Signs from the Other World in Contemporary North America 293
Ellen Badone

22 Cryonic Suspension as Eschatological Technology in the Secular Age 307
Abou Farman

Part V Corporeal Materiality 321

23 From Here and to Death: The Archaeology of the Human Body 323
Liv Nilsson Stutz

24 Death, Corporeality, and Uncertainty in Zimbabwe 337
Joost Fontein

25 Death, Power, and Silence: Native Nations’ Ancestral Remains at the Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania 357
Jacqueline Fear‐Segal

26 In the Absence of a Corpse: Rituals for Body Donors in the Netherlands 371
Sophie Bolt

27 Death as Spectacle: Plastinated Bodies in Germany 383
Uli Linke

Part VI Biomedical Issues 399

28 The Body as Medicine: Blood and Organ Donation in China 401
Charlotte Ikels

29 Ethical Dilemmas in the Field: Witchcraft and Biomedical Etiology in South Africa 415
Isak Niehaus

30 The Disappearance of Dying, and Why It Matters 429
Helen Stanton Chapple

31 Death, Detachment, and Moral Dilemmas of Care in a Kenyan Hospital 445
Ruth J. Prince

32 The New Normal: Mediated Death and Assisted Dying in the United States 461
Frances Norwood

Index 477