“Private Territory”: Burial Ground in the Field of Social Interaction
[“Chastnaia territoriia”: mesto zakhoroneniia v pole sotsial’nykh vzaimodeistvii]
Type of publication: Research Article
Povolzhie, Upper Volga region, social space, social communication, family identity, cemetery, burial ground, burial structures, funeral rites, commemoration rites
Burial grounds, which represent integral and constitutive elements in a cemetery, consist of a unified set of burial structures erected above one or several graves. They may be designated as “private” territories, having connotations of “private property” and “restricted space”. The article discusses the most common approaches to organizing individual and family burial grounds in the cemeteries of the present-day Upper Volga (Povolzhie) region, as well as the ways in which they are embedded in local social interactions. I argue that the space of burial ground may be subdivided into the “core” (the burial spot around which the constructions are arranged) and the “boundary” zones (the latter being usually delineated by a fence or marked by other symbolic means). The tombstone, as a symbolic representation of the dead, serves to endorse the function of the burial ground as a commemoration or memory place. The demarcation of burial ground’s boundaries as an area of responsibility of a particular family is instrumental in its maintenance in accordance with the sentiments and beliefs of the relatives of the dead; and it allows the relatives to conduct commemorative practices in the manner that they consider proper and correct.
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]
Chesnokova, E.G. 2019. “Chastnaia territoriia”: mesto zakhoroneniia v pole sotsial’nykh vzaimodeistvii [“Private Territory”: Burial Ground in the Field of Social Interaction]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 1: 65-78. https://doi.org/10.31857/S086954150004180-8
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