“The Rules of Death”: Concepts of “Improper Dead Man” and “Improper Burial” in the Toolkit of Social and Political Technologies
[“Pravila smerti”: kontsepty “nepravil’nyi mertvets” i “nepravil’noe pogrebenie” v instrumentarii sotsial’nykh i politicheskikh tekhnologii]
Type of publication: Research Article
Death studies, funeral rituals, improper dead man, improper burial, burial rite, social technology, political technology
The article discusses the concepts of “improper dead man” and “improper burial”, presented in different cultures and in different sociopolitical contexts. We offer an interpretation of these concepts as special social and political technologies ensuring the maintenance of social stratification, regulating behavioral strategies, and making it possible to form ideological models within the framework of the dominant ideology that governs the “rules of death” characteristic of a given community. We pay special attention to contemporary practices using the concepts of “improper death”, “improper dead man”, “improper funeral”, and “improper burial”. An analysis of examples from typologically different cultures shows that the concepts of “improper burial” and “improper death” are actualized in those cases when there is a need to transform the existing ideological model and the associated mythology and topics. We argue that ignoring the existing differences in the burial traditions, which have always had cultural specificities throughout human history, is fraught with serious conflicts that can only be prevented by developing new “rules of death” that would meet modern sociocultural standards.
Funding InformationThis research was supported by the following institutions and grants: Russian Science Foundation, https://doi.org/10.13039/501100006769 [grant no. 18-18-00082]
Morozov, I.A., and L.A. Tkachuk. 2019. “Pravila smerti”: kontsepty “nepravil’nyi mertvets” i “nepravil’noe pogrebenie” v instrumentarii sotsial’nykh i politicheskikh tekhnologii [“The Rules of Death”: Concepts of “Improper Dead Man” and “Improper Burial” in the Toolkit of Social and Political Technologies]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 1: 11-26. https://doi.org/10.31857/S086954150004177-4
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