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    In the shadow of the traditional grave

    Kellaher, Leonie and Prendergast, David and Hockey, Jenny (2005) In the shadow of the traditional grave. Mortality, 10 (4). pp. 237-250. ISSN 1357-6275

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    This article draws on data from a qualitative study of the destinations of ashes now being removed in increasing numbers from crematoria, the practice of cremation, and particularly the private disposal of ashes outside crematoria.1 It explores the case that such disposals may frequently be informed by the recollection, or awareness, of practices surrounding whole body burial. These include notions of bodily integrity, the creation and preservation of a clear, bounded space for the deceased, and expectations and negotiations about grave visiting and upkeep. The article therefore seeks to determine whether new ritual practice is being developed, or instead, whether a reformulation of traditional beliefs and practices is taking place. Data are presented which primarily demonstrate either a strong parallel between burial and cremation practice or a serious intention to stand clear of the shadow of the traditional grave. In addition we discuss a smaller body of material which reveals more ambiguous approaches that do not support either argument. By examining data within these categories, the article explores the varying degrees of alignment between traditional burial and cremation practices and asks whether cremation provides scope for a return to positively perceived aspects of burial, while sidestepping its less welcome aspects, such as slow bodily deterioration.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Burial; ashes; new ritual; home; crematoria; vernacular practice;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Anthropology
    Item ID: 11162
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: David Prendergast
    Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2019 15:35
    Journal or Publication Title: Mortality
    Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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