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Erika Friedl and Reinhold Loeffler

This article is an ethnographic dissection of ideas pertaining to eschatology in a Shi’a Muslim tribal area in Iran that reveals the syncretistic possibilities in lived Islam, the generosity of the local culture regarding matters of religion, and individuals’ motivations for selecting certain possibilities to think about death and the afterlife. A common theme is for people to look at religious tenets as they pertain to this-worldly relations and can be approached with empirical experiences, all within the general frame of a regulated universe created by a merciful, understanding God. Research for this discussion stretched across 50 years in Iran.

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Technologies of the Afterlife

The Agency of the Dead at Spanish Mass Grave Exhumations

Jonah S. Rubin

In August 2011, I attended the exhumation of Severiano Clemente González, conducted by the Forum for Memory in the Castilian town of La Toba, Guadalajara. Mr González was one of the over 130,000 civilian victims of the 1936–1939 Spanish Civil War and ensuing Franco dictatorship (1939–1975). Even after Spain’s democratic constitution in 1978, most families could not recover their loved ones, owing to an unofficial ‘Pact of Silence’ whereby major political actors agreed not to legislate, litigate or discuss the still controversial past in the public sphere (Encarnación 2014). Since 2000, however, civil society organisations such as the Forum for Memory and the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory (ARMH) have been leading a series of forensic exhumations – modelled after similar state-led interventions in Latin America, Southern and Eastern Europe (Ferrándiz 2010; Rubin 2014).

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Elisabeth Hsu

What, if not Durkheim’s ‘collective representations’ acquired during exalted states of effervescence, gives rise to society, culture and science? Marcel Mauss provides another answer by pointing to the different rhythms of social relationships and the human effort to synchronise them. The seasonal cycle of the Eskimo [Inuit], Mauss argues, is in accord with their game; hence people disperse in summer to pursue economic activities in small bands, while they congregate in dense house-complexes in winter and engage in ritual. It would appear that Mauss draws heavily on Boas’s contrast between the Kwakiutl winter celebrations and their ‘uninitiated’ livelihood in summer. These insights have traction for medical anthropologists who are interested in finding an anthropological explanation for the efficaciousness of ‘traditional’ medicines or ‘indigenous’ healing techniques.

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Migration as Survival

Withheld Stories and the Limits of Ethnographic Knowability

Gerhild Perl

has first thought them, books outlive their authors, images have an afterlife, national imaginaries are revived after centuries, and a story can survive those from whom the content originates. Commenting on this ubiquity of survival, Gil Anidjar (2012

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Invisible Veterans

Defeated Militants and Enduring Revolutionary Social Values in Dhufar, Oman

Alice Wilson

standing out as a disruption of prevailing social hierarchies, these practices show how defeated revolution can have a social “afterlife” of continuing significance, influence, and legacies. This afterlife of defeated revolution extends in the Dhufari case

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Reassembling The Social Organization

Collaboration and Digital Media in (Re)making Boas’s 1897 Book

Aaron Glass, Judith Berman, and Rainer Hatoum

—hyperlinks, multimedia, data visualization, and interactivity—to produce a critical edition that reveals the book’s origins and afterlife, as well as its place in both scholarly and Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw genealogies of knowledge and practice. Keeping these three nested levels

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The Immanent Frame

Max-Planck-Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity Afterlife Research Centre

The Non-religion and Secularity Research Network

Teaching Religion in the Social Sciences

Network of Anthropology of Religion

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‘Tu Numeris Elementa Ligas’

The Consolation of Nature’s Numbers in Parlement of Foulys

C.W.R.D. Moseley

Abstract

The contention of this article is that Chaucer is expecting, indeed exploiting, the gap between the reception of a poem when it is heard socially and its afterlife as a text, when it is a different thing altogether. I also argue that a poem’s form is itself a way of communicating ideas. The discussion focuses on Parlement of Foulys, but the conclusions may be more widely applicable.

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Douglas Farrer

This article traces the connections between death and the afterlife as configured through the Malay martial art silat in Malaysia, Singapore, and the Riau Archipelago. The practice and performance of silat are addressed here through aspects of non-material and material culture, including ritual, dance, jewelry, symbols, and art. Silat is designed to transform physically and spiritually the silat practitioner and to remove the fear of death and dying. This transformation is partly accomplished by summoning (berseru) the shadows of the 'potent dead'. However, the contemporary medicalization of death may preclude the possibility of a 'noble death'. To illustrate the disjuncture of 'deathscapes', I compare the agonizing death of a silat master to the cemetery ordeal of his son.

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The Bodily Efficacy of the Categories

Durkheim and Mauss's Intervention into the History of Philosophy

Erhard Schüttpelz and Martin Zillinger

Between 1900 and 1912, Durkheim, Mauss and other contributors of the L’Année Sociologique developed the most ambitious philosophical project of modern anthropology: a comparative and worldwide social history of philosophical categories. This article briefly summarises three phases of the ‘Category Project’ and gives a preliminary characterisation of its Hegelian ambitions. Further, it points out the common denominator in the diverse success stories of the Category Project, namely the reference to the human body as the site of collective consciousness. In a second step, the article traces the intricate genesis and after-life of the most important category of bodily efficacy and epistemological insight provided by Durkheim and Mauss: the elaboration of ‘effervescence’ and its manifestation of ‘totality’.