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Deathscapes in diaspora: contesting space and negotiating home in contexts of post-migration diversity

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Abstract

The literature on deathscapes has thus far neglected the diversity of mortuary practices resulting from the inherently spatial phenomenon of migration and the increased capacity for transnational activities linking migrant communities with places of origin. Against this sedentarist bias, this article proposes that the end of life is a critical juncture in the settlement process for diasporic communities. On the one hand, practices such as posthumous repatriation may serve to reinforce shared perceptions of temporary presence in host countries. On the other hand, death may be the occasion to lay what are perhaps the deepest foundations for home-making in diaspora, through funeral rituals and memorialisation. However, these latter claims to space in adopted homelands may also be the object of legal and political contestation, as demonstrated through an analysis of disputes in the UK over open-air Hindu funeral pyres and planning permission for a Muslim cemetery. What is at stake is the legitimate symbolic re-inscription of space. As such, diasporic deathscapes are an exemplary site of contestation and negotiation between migrant place-making practices and the domesticating urges of governmental subjects.

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... Whether undertaken by choice or by force, migration is a spatio-temporal experience woven tightly into a community's social fabric. Diaspora studies incorporate mortuary analysis to demonstrate that a community's diversity can be spatially expressed within historic cemeteries, which can also serve as sites for the active construction of belonging among immigrant communities (Hunter 2016;Ansari 2007;Blouet 2018). As Hunter suggests, post-migration mortuary practices 'may be the occasion to lay what are perhaps the deepest and most permanent foundations for settlement and belonging of migrants and subsequent generations, through burial and other funerary practices in the adopted homeland' (Hunter 2016, 249). ...
... To address this question, we focus on the burial mound and associated practices to examine intersections of temporality and space. Construction of post-migration deathscapes brings together the past, present, and future as the new group balances their intentions for their future with the traditions of their past (Hunter 2016;Ingold 1993;Yoffee 2007). We consider the lived past as having shaped expectations about proper burial behaviour but influenced in the new setting by the intentions for the present and future, and construction of memory via objects and use of space. ...
... We consider the lived past as having shaped expectations about proper burial behaviour but influenced in the new setting by the intentions for the present and future, and construction of memory via objects and use of space. As observed in modern diasporic situations, groups may use their activities surrounding death and disposal of the body in any number of ways related to place-making from reaffirmation of group cohesion and separateness to facilitating belonging and blending into their new social setting and place (Hunter 2016;Pedersen and Rytter 2018). ...
Article
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Creation of deathscapes is integral to human place-making and the construction of our past, present, and future. As people practice mortuary rituals and related behaviours, space and time are conflated as they engage with spatial, temporal, and ideological aspects of the landscape, existing deathscapes, and ritual objects. Migration episodes offer an important spatio-temporal context for examining the construction of deathscape, and at the same time, insight into the new deathscape practices can help inform the migration event itself. Through the use of a case study with a well-documented migration event and mortuary program data from the North American midcontinent, we examine the intersections of time and space in the construction of deathscape among the post-migration Oneota tradition (ca. AD 1300–1400). In a contentious landscape dominated by Mississippian peoples, the newcomers created ties to their new location by actively creating and practising new traditions while maintaining important links to their own history.
... Gradually, more and more immigrants have chosen to bury their dead in Norway. The reasons may be several: that some immigrant communities consider central needs have been addressed, and a certain adaptation to Norwegian burial customs and legislation (for other studies analysing changing burial practices in various religious communities, see Hunter, 2016aHunter, , 2016bHunter & Ammann, 2016;Kadrouch-Outmany, 2012Reimers, 1999;Venhorst, 2013). ...
... It can be enhanced by paying particular attention to the role they play as sites for cultural encounters. International researchers have approached cemeteries as 'deathcapes' (Hunter, 2016b;Madrell & Sidaway, 2010) defined as 'material expression in the landscape of practices relating to death' (Teather, cited in Hunter, 2016a, p. 3), or seen as an emotional landscape, conceived of as 'places of tranquillity and transcendent beauty' (Hunter, 2016a, p. 188). Rugg (2000) refers to 'sacredness' as an important characteristic of a cemetery, but she underlines that cemeteries are 'principally secular institutions that aim to serve the whole community' (Rugg, 2000, p. 264). ...
... immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents, by country background.Source: Statistics Norway, 2016a, 2016b, 2017b ...
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Population increase has drawn attention to the need in cities for easily accessible and attractive public spaces that will promote interaction regardless of gender, age, ethnicity and religious belief. This paper focuses on the role urban cemeteries play in a culturally and religiously diverse society. Norway is described as an increasingly secularised society. Immigration and transmigration, on the other hand, have brought a revived interest in religion and interreligious interaction. We explore two questions that relate to the cemetery as a public shared urban space: The first concerns the need for communities of all faiths and none to access burial space that meets their need. The second relates to the appropriateness of using cemetery as amenity space in a multicultural context. Diverse qualitative methods have been used; a focus group interview with participants from different religious and life-philosophy communities, interviews with key informants representing various religious communities and with visitors in two cemeteries in Oslo in 2014. The findings imply that there is a commonality that bridges differences: sharing human compassion. These sites have a potential in stimulating intercultural and interreligious encounters. Their special character as open shared urban sites can increase understanding and acceptance of each other’s difference and hereby render strangeness and differences harmless.
... In the case of death and associated mourning, 'an individual's experience of bereavement changes their relation to particular spaces and places and [ …. ] this becomes a dynamic map of shifting patterns of emotion and affect, both painful and comforting' (Maddrell 2012: 58). Thus, the relationship between memory, place and belonging is a complex and evolving affective-emotional ecology (Drozdzewski et al., 2016;Jones and Garde Hansen 2012;Tolia-Kelly 2010), and for many migrants and minorities, the presence of their dead in situ can be a significant part of ties to place (Ansari 2007;Hunter 2016). The degree to which bereaved people feel entitled to experience and express their grief in appropriate ways constitutes a form of emotional enfranchisement. ...
... The practice of repatriation of the dead is associated with migrants who for reasons of familial or place attachment, in which memories plays a significant part, and/or religious imperative, have been returned to their country of origin or heritage for burial, cremation and/or the disposition of cremated remains. Repatriation of migrants living in Britain is particularly associated with those of South Asian heritage, but numbers of repatriations among this group has declined over the last two decades, as evidenced in this study and previous work (Gardner 1998;Hunter 2016). Nonetheless, continued repatriation was reported by some participants of South Asian origin or heritage in this study (see below); occasional repatriation was also reported amongst Caribbean and Chinese participants, and across all case studies in the case of the death of young European economic migrants whose families and ties were still principally in their country of origin e.g. ...
Article
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In this paper we explore migrants' and minorities' memories and memory-making associated with death, funerary and remembrance practices, with particular attention to how this intersects with experiences of migration and/or being part of a cultural or religious minority. The paper examines different spaces including bodies, homes, translocal networks, cemeteries and crematoria, centred on insights from focus groups, biographical and key participant interviews in four medium sized multicultural towns in England and Wales. These case studies afford an exploration of the complex and dynamic ‘ecologies’ of migrant and minority memories and sense of citizenship in relation to death, bereavement and remembrance spaces and practices. Participant accounts highlight memories of past practices, (post)colonial marginalization, disenfranchisement, changes in practices, the strains of transnational grieving, pragmatic compromises and collaborating to improve funerary provision as endeavours of everyday citizenship. These are explored through two broad interlinked themes: firstly, translocal memories of past and evolving funerary and remembrance spaces, customs and practices; and secondly, relationality and autonomy through the choice of where to situate the dead, and implications for associated future memory-making.
... The social function of cemeteries is particularly important for the dynamics within multicultural societies (Reimers, 1999). How different migrant communities deal with the end of life can raise legal and political contestation, such as provision for open-air Hindu funeral pyres (Hadders, 2021), planning permissions for burial grounds of Muslim communities (Hunter, 2016) or post-mortal mobility of remains (Akkaymak & Belkhodja, 2020). Maddrell et al. (2018) call for diversity-ready cemeteries that rely "upon openness to and respect for the needs of others, other citizens, other neighbours" (p. ...
... Defining deathscapes as "the material expression in the landscape of practices relating to death", Teather (2001, p. 185) shows clashes around the traditional and the modern in Chinese cemeteries and columbaria. For Hunter (2016), this concept helps to reveal the power dynamics that shape burial sites of diaspora and migrant communities in the UK. Klaufus (2014Klaufus ( , 2016Klaufus ( , 2018b uses the concept to unpack social practices and conflicts around burial sites in Latin American cities. ...
Thesis
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Insights from the field of cemetery research demonstrate that urban cemeteries have a variety of functions, not limited to their primary purpose of providing space for interment of human remains and commemoration of loved ones. This multiplicity of functions and meanings shapes cemeteries’ special place in contemporary cities and calls for a sensitive framework for their planning and management. This thesis sets out to explore the role of cemeteries with two foci: densification processes, which can reconfigure functions of urban green spaces, and postsecular debates, which highlight the relationships between the secular and the spiritual/religious. In many cities, cemeteries indeed function as publicly accessible green spaces and accommodate intrinsic spiritual aspects, yet it remains unclear how their role might be reshaped in dense postsecular cities. This research is situated within the interdisciplinary field of urban studies and employs the concept of public space as the main theoretical lens. I also draw on the idea of municipal spirituality — a discursive tool intended to integrate the spiritual aspects of places into planning. The aim of this thesis is to contribute to existing research with new knowledge and understanding of the role of urban cemeteries as public spaces with an empirical focus on the policy context. The thesis consists of three scientific papers and an introductory essay. Inspired by a recent call for more global urban studies, this thesis employs a comparative methodology and uses three cities (Oslo, Copenhagen and Moscow) as case studies in a multiple-case research design. The empirical material (policy documents and interviews with experts) is analysed qualitatively, in both inductive and deductive manners, and supplemented with field observations. This thesis contributes to the existing body of literature in three ways. First, it establishes a multidimensional framework for the analysis of cemeteries as public spaces and demonstrates how different dimensions are manifested in the three case study cities. The framework illuminates both dimensions inherent to cemeteries (liminal and spiritual) and dimensions common to public spaces in general (multifunctional, multicultural and commercial). Second, the thesis outlines a comparative methodology that enables an assessment of the role of cemeteries in different contexts, as understood by planners and policymakers. While in Oslo and Copenhagen cemeteries are seen as multifunctional green spaces, Moscow cemeteries are viewed predominantly as burial spaces and places for commemoration and their other functions are overlooked. Third, this thesis extends an invitation to revisit debates around the notion of public space. The conceptualisation of urban cemeteries as a special type of public space emphasises the importance of the spiritual aspects — often forgotten in these debates — and points to the demand for a greater diversity of public spaces to fulfil citizen’s varied needs.
... Ideas of home and belonging are central to decisions about the disposition of loved ones (Hunter, 2016). Numerous study participants of South Asian origin or heritage in this study evidenced a growing cultural shift away from the repatriation of the dead to country of origin or heritage in favour of local disposition. ...
... Deficits in cemetery and crematoria provision for minorities in medium-sized urban settlements might be rationalised as an inevitable consequence of scale or a complex map of diverse needs, but to do so would exemplify both oversight and failure of oversight (McKittrick, 2013), in the sense of failure to see the significance of these matters for many of those affected, and a failure to take responsibility for the impacts of inadequate provision for minorities. This re-inscribes the minority subject as constituted in the interface of formulations and negotiations of "difference" and "commonality" (Brah, 1996, p. 247), as well as subject to the domesticating impulse of governance shaped by majority culture (Hunter, 2016). This intersectional experience has explicit as well as implicit political connotations, especially where state agencies (or their nominated representatives) are key service providers, as in the case of cemeteries and crematoria where functional, majority-minorities, emotional-affective, and secular-religious geographies intersect. ...
Article
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Building on embodied and de‐colonial approaches to geopolitics, this paper examines the relationship between forms of governance in municipal cemetery and crematorium provision and the needs of established minorities, arguing that inadequate infrastructure and services can constitute harm. Crucially, it is contended that forms of governance impact not only on the living, but also on perceptions of the wellbeing of the dead. Grounded in a study of four towns in England and Wales, the paper identifies firstly how intersectional identity fundamentally shapes people’s experiences of deathscape governance; secondly, the possibilities of infrastructural benefits of inclusive services; and thirdly, the harms done by non‐inclusive forms of governance, implicit territoriality and inadequate infrastructure. This is evidenced in the negative impact of municipal cemetery organization and management on specific minority groups, such as inadequate burial space, high burial costs, hinderances to timely rituals, and protracted planning processes; as well as reduced access to services as a result of government austerity measures. The conclusion calls for a wider conceptualization of necropolitics, based on a critical‐feminist‐decolonial geopolitics of deathscapes in multicultural societies, and offers insights for the practical governance of inclusive cemeteries and crematoria.
... Despite these general trends, not all people, groups or communities use communication technologies the same way. Selective and cultural appropriation creates an overlap between 'technoscapes' and 'ethnoscapes' (Appadurai, 2006), which, in migration, gives rise to technological translocal 'deathscapes' (Hunter, 2016a), an expression of the diversity of mortuary practices technologically mediated between separate places. ...
Article
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The migration of Romanian Korturare is analyzed with a focus on the transformation of three aspects of their funerary practices: place of burial, multi-sited funeral celebrations, and the use of communication technologies. This ‘mortuary focus’, which has not previously been applied to studies of international Romani migration, provides a better understanding of the interaction between territorial attachment and international mobility patterns. Observations based on ethnographic fieldwork are complemented by an analysis of social media use, audiovisual materials and a sample of 69 cases. Localities of origin continue to be the preferred place for burial and collective memorialization, while funerals become multi-sited, involving both host towns and hometowns. The mediatization of death practices reinforces both of these tendencies. The transformation reflects the role of Korturare social organization in the migration process. The broad and densely nested family networks of the Korturare keep the possibility of multidirectional migration open and act as an adaptive resource by reproducing community life abroad. At the same time, they preserve the localities of origin as the common and privileged territory of the symbolic reproduction of family ties.
... Certes, la mort et le deuil qui l'accompagne sont depuis de nombreuses années l'objet de recherches en sciences sociales et humaines, principalement en sociologie et en anthropologie (Ariès 1985 ;Berthod 2006 ;Clavandier 2009 ;Lenoir et de Tonnac 2004 ;Roudaut 2012). Toutefois, comme le suggèrent plusieurs recherches récentes (Hunter 2016a(Hunter , 2016bHunter et Ammann 2016 ;pour une revue récente, voir Rachédi et Halsouet 2017), leur articulation avec le domaine de la migration constitue ce que Zırh (2012 : 1759) nomme la « zone grise sous-étudiée ». ...
... In particular, I will consider the ways in which spirits have active, and not residual agency (Gell, 1998;S. Harper, 2010) as well as influence over the living through objects associated with them (corpses, graves, ritual artefacts), and how this agency contributes to the assembling of deathscapes (Hunter, 2016, Porteous, 1987Teather, 2001) and more specifically, memorialscapes (Maddrell, 2009(Maddrell, , 2013Maddrell & Sidaway, 2010). Moreover, this study draws on fieldwork done in the context of Chinese Religion in Singapore, where power and punitive actions on the part of dead ancestors have long been well-established (Li, 2011). ...
Article
When thinking about deathscapes and how they are assembled, current literature often points to the presence of material objects as ways in which individuals evoke the absence of the dead. These objects can be both performative and communicative, becoming a channel of communication. But the literature has so far mostly neglected the ability of spirits to ‘talk back’ to the living through objects and bodies, and in doing so influence and have effect on the latter’s actions. In this paper, I will investigate the ways in which spirits are seen to have agency in deathscapes. I propose the concept of material proxies of consociation, denoting objects/bodies which act as ways for spirits to not just communicate, but interact with the living. Using two visual ethnographic case studies, one of the divining blocks and the other of a ritual exhumation, I will demonstrate that spirits can indeed be seen to be active and effective agents in the assembling of deathscapes. In doing so, this paper offers new ways of understanding three things – the role and importance of spirits in deathscapes, how the absent is made present, and how the spaces in which living and dead interact are constructed and shaped.
... It is where the living looks for reflection, mourning and memorialisation (Hallam and Hockey 2001;Maddrell and Sidaway 2010;Hunter 2016b, 181). Others pointed out that death-scapes can be a locus of empowerment and mourning (Kong 1999) and a site of 'contested place-making, due to the symbolic re-inscription of space which they invoke' (Hunter 2016a;259). Indeed, 'the intercultural negotiations around death and dying do not conclude with the death of an immigrant' , but continue (Appadurai 1990;Balkan 2016, 159). ...
Article
The article analyses cross-generational negotiations of funeral rites of Chinese migrants in Melbourne, Australia. It discusses the intersections between migration and death, with reference to the meaning of death and funeral rites linking multiple generations in migrant life. These intersections create a ‘mobility juncture’ to engrain their legacy and communicate across generations. We interviewed 36 Chinese migrants and 5 funeral professionals. Data analysis showed that the participants were open to discussing death, funeral preparation, and pre-purchasing a grave-plot. The socio-economically independent life style in Australia has brought about changes to their perception and preparation of their final journey. Yet, the significance of the grave-site as a point of communication between the past and the present/future remains, naturally leading to active construction of a communication juncture. Strong incentives for preparing their own funeral and burial place included a wish to ease the burden for their children and a lack of confidence in their children’s knowledge and future implementation of diverse Chinese funeral rites. Filial piety and family values remain significant, but they continue to undergo changes in the Australian context.
... Furthermore, depending on one's specific religious and cultural background, it can be understood to impact the well-being and fate of the deceased (Venbrux, 2007;Venhorst, 2013). Also, decisions about the place of burial or ash dispersal can be perceived as expressions of ultimate belonging, recognition and inclusion (Hunter, 2016;Olwig, 2009;Portes et al., 1999). At the same time, as local authorities are the main cemetery and crematoria providers in England and Wales, funerary services can be read as a form of governmentality, an expression of governmental strategies towards multicultural society, diversity, social cohesion and immigration more generally (Maddrell et al., 2021). ...
Article
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Fieldwork encounters are not only contingent to biographical subjectivities, but are mediated by a confluence of identity, place and embodiment. This paper offers reflexive accounts of researchers with various socio-cultural and disciplinary backgrounds, who collaborated as a team to examine the varied funerary experiences and needs of established minorities and recent migrants in England and Wales. Focusing on the researchers’ varied personal experiences with death and bereavement and on their performances of minority and majority ethnic and migrant identities, the paper highlights the mediated and embodied nature of fieldwork. It argues that reflection on the various aspects of intersectional researcher identity is necessary for a rigorous fieldwork practice that takes transparency and politics into account. This facilitates a deeper understanding of the positionality of both researchers and interlocutors, and the situated co-production of knowledge. In doing so, the paper illustrates that conducting research with a diverse team of researchers contributes to better understanding the complexity and multifacetedness of social phenomena.
... By ticking certain boxes, would-be migrants attest that they fit the social categories that make sense in the host country, resulting in a process of negotiation and transformation of their identity. This "domestication" (Hage 1996;Hunter 2016) of foreign identities by means of immigration forms can be interpreted as an instrument of nation-building from a social control perspective. However, the power that documents hold is not unidirectional and leaves room for individual agency: "documentation as a site for manoeuvring by those it is meant to control" (Pigg, Erikson and Inglis 2018, 175). ...
Article
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For a number of migrant actors, bureaucratic processes related to immigration constitute the greater part of the route toward their aspired destination and significantly shape their experience of migration and forced immobility. This special issue takes a look at the meaningful ways in which migrant actors interact with immigration bureaucracies and at how administrative procedures, with their highly emotional potential, shape in turn the subjectivity, decisions and actions of migrant actors. All the articles here analyse immigration bureaucracy as a dynamic process mediated by a network of people and by material objects (for example, documents, forms). Whether work, marriage or refuge is the reason for migration, the period of waiting in administrative limbo — which can last years — is crucial to our understanding of the bureaucratic encounter as a social force. This issue, dedicated to migrants’ lived experience of paperwork, clerks and other immigration intermediaries, explores two aspects of migrant actors’ encounters with immigration bureaucracies that go beyond the specificities of each individual’s personal background and trajectory: the production of affects and bureaucratic agency; the former often being the driving force behind the latter.
... In order for cemeteries to be socially just, they have to be able to provide a decent disposal of the body, democratic accountability, equality of access to services regardless of income, freedom of religious expression at cemeteries, and environmental sustainability (Rugg, 2020). An additional element can be identified, namely specific provisions for religious and minority communities (Hunter, 2016;Wingren, 2013). Attention to diverse religious and cultural funerary practices has been shown to be central to culturally inclusive cemeteries and crematoria gardens as well as the sense of 'full citizenship' of minorities, but can also be a cause of contention Maddrell, McNally, et al., 2021). ...
Article
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We identify and analyse practices and management regimes around burial and handling of ashes across eight case study towns within six Northern European countries. We analyse management of cemeteries and crematoria gardens, majority practices and provision for minority communities, including various burial types, cremated remains, the re-use of graves, and costs for interments. Comparative data is drawn from analysis of national and local regulations, interviews with stakeholders, and observations at cemeteries and crematoria gardens. The findings show significant variation in national and local regulations and practices for burial and cremation particularly around the re-use of graves, handling of ashes and costs for grave space and cremation. We identify the opportunities and constraints of these variations in terms of accessibility, diversity and equality; and argue for national directions to avoid unequal treatment within nations. Furthermore, we stress the importance of a liberal and inclusive management of European cemeteries and crematoria gardens.
... Our paper brings questions of race, planning, and cemeteries, crematoria, and related provision into closer dialogue (see, for example, Gale 2005;Hunter 2016;Jassal 2015;McClymont 2016). Our focus is on the spatial arrangements that mediate the capacity for ethnic and racial minorities to fulfill death rituals in the United Kingdom with particular emphasis on England and Wales (a separate framework operates in Scotland and Northern Ireland). ...
Article
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“Deathscapes” constitute a growing field of research, yet the topic remains widely neglected within urban planning. In this paper, we examine the adequacy of existing provision for death, remembrance, and the disposal of body remains for ethnic minority groups living in four British towns: Huddersfield, Newport, Northampton, and Swindon. We show how the needs of ethnic minority groups are routinely peripheralized through a lack of acknowledgment of diverse cultural and religious needs. The paper argues that the failure of contemporary planning policy and practice to address the intersections between death and ethnicity has contributed to ongoing forms of exclusion from the British society.
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Cemeteries in Victoria were planned and designed 150 years ago, without any major developments taking place since. Large numbers of baby-boomers, as well as migrants of a similar age, are now at a stage where end-of-life plans come into view. However, their needs of funeral rites require reassessment due to a significantly different socio-cultural context where social norms are shifting and environmental resources are scarce. Considering the aging population and the contexts of ‘religion, space and economic rationalisation’, the new cultural differences and changing religious affiliations are likely to be reflected on public preferences in relation to funeral rites. Australia’s population was 24,385,600 as at December 2016, an increase of 372,800 since December 2015 (ABS 2017). Migration has contributed significantly to this increase with Victoria experiencing the largest level of growth (2.4%). Migrant increases have led to religious shifts that were particularly noticeable in Melbourne, Victoria. There is an urgent need to re-engage with cemetery planning for the immediate future and beyond. Understanding contemporary, and future, funeral needs of a culturally diverse population in Australia is of critical importance to government and the funeral industry. Yet, we are not informed of a systematic appreciation of these changes and their implications for future planning and design of cemeteries. With increasingly limited access to usable land suitable for burial practices – particularly in metropolitan areas – future planning must consider the funeral rites of both the existing aging population and incoming migrant groups most likely to make end of life choices in the coming decades. This study focuses on three specific groups that were identified in consultation with our partner organisations (Cemeteries and Crematoria Regulation Unit and Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust) as most in need of understanding their specific characteristics in terms of funeral rites. The three groups include: Baby Boomers, Christians, and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse population.
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This research aimed to comprehensively analyse memorialisation practices in the UK, past and present, subjecting this to some international comparison, in order to inform understanding of: • the significance of memorials and memorialising processes today and throughout history and their relative significance at different points in time; • the purposes and meanings which they fulfil today, the social effects observed in the past and the factors and contexts which shape these purposes, meanings and social effects; • their forms and representations, past and present, and how and why these may be changing in contemporary society. Particular focus was on: the role of religion; the context, understandings and practices of contemporary humanistic spiritualities; the significance of personal meaning-making; socio-economic and cultural variations and the development of cultural 'scripts'; the ways in which personal experiences and perspectives interface with social trends.
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This paper is concerned with the complex relationship between immigration, religion, burial decisions, and a sense of belonging. Drawing upon a case study of Muslims in London, Ontario, Canada, we examine Islamic funeral and burial services available in the city and the preferred burial locations of its Muslim communities. Our interviews with different immigrant generations of Muslims show that participants, regardless of their immigrant generation, prefer London as a location of burial for themselves and their loved ones. We argue that four major factors at the structural and individual level shape the preference of study participants with respect to the location of burial: access to an Islamic cemetery and Islamic funeral services; an established Muslim population in the city; relation to and interpretation of religious requirements; and a sense of belonging to Canada. We discuss the findings in relation to multiculturalism and recognition of cultural and religious differences.
Article
A new body of scholarship on death and loss has emerged as a sub-field within social and cultural geography. This work has done much to draw geographers’ attention to questions of death, dying and remembrance and likewise to bring a spatial perspective to interdisciplinary death studies. Whilst deathscapes have been framed within geographical work as incorporating material, embodied and virtual spaces, to date Anglo-American and European studies have tended to focus on the literal and representational spaces of the end of life, sites of bodily remains and memorialization. With a number of important exceptions, embodied and dynamic experiences of dying, death and survival have been absent within the geographies of death. This special section aims to broaden the scope, and to resist simple dichotomies of life and death, and to be especially attentive to the embodied and visceral experiences, practices and processes of dying, death and survival. In this introduction, we explore themes of dying/s, death/s and survival/s across varied international, national and cultural contexts, as discussed in the contributing papers and raised by the politics of recent events. This collection offers an expanded and enlivened approach to research, documenting facing death/s, journeys at the end of life, living through, on and with life-limiting illnesses, living with loss and the interconnected spatialities that these experiences and practices evoke for individuals and wider social groups. They open up new spaces of P/politics and emotions, challenging limited political and medicalized frames. The papers also raise methodological questions and present a challenging agenda for future research. This special section grew out of sessions we organized for the 2012 RGS-IBG Annual International Conference at the University of Edinburgh.
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William Safran is professor of political science and director of the Center for Comparative Politics at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is program coordinator of the Conference Groups on French Politics and Society and vice president of the Research Committee on Politics and Ethnicity of the International Political Science Association. He has written several books, including The French Polity (1977, 1979, 1985, 1991), and contributed to numerous journals and books, most recently the forthcoming Ethnic and Racial Minorities in Advanced Industrial Democracies. This article is a revised and much enlarged version of a paper presented at the Université de Haute Bretagne, Rennes, France, in December 1988. The earlier version was published in Les Etrangers dans la ville, ed. Ida Simon and Jean-Pierre Simon (Paris: L'Harmattan, 1990). I also wish to thank two anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions, from which this version has benefited greatly. 1. For example, see Cobban; Shafer; Smith; Rothschild; and Enloe. 2. "Jeszcze Polska nie zginieła kiedy my żyjemy"—these are still the words of the Polish national anthem, which parallel those of "Hatikva," the Zionist and, later, Israeli national anthem: "As long as there is a Jewish soul within us . . . our eyes turn to Zion." 3. For an "inventory" of the Polish diaspora and its institutions, see Kolodziej, whose study was published under the auspices of the Cracow-based Institute for the Study of Poles Abroad. 4. See Morsy (15ff), who points out that this label is often used even for third-generation descendants of Algerian immigrants. 5. The term "Palestinian Arab" is preferred by some Israeli Jews, especially those of the older generation who remember that the term "Palestinian" was applied to the Jewish as well as the Arab inhabitants of Mandate Palestine. In Britain, the major fundraising agency in behalf of the Jewish settlers used to be called the United Palestine Appeal, and the Jerusalem Post, the English-language daily of the Jews in Israel, was, until 1948, known as the Palestine Post. 6. According to one sympathetic observer of the Palestinian condition, the focus of the Palestinians' homeland aspirations would not be Haifa (or the rest of Israel within the pre-1967 borders), "as a first step at least" (Colin Smith 5). 7. According to Zuheir Mohsen, head of the Saiqa faction of the PLO, "There are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians, and Lebanese. . . . It is only for political reasons that we carefully underline our Palestinian identity." Saiqa is backed by the Syrian government.
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This introductory article defines the concept of transnationalism, provides a typology of this heterogeneous set of activities, and reviews some of the pitfalls in establishing and validating the topic as a novel research field. A set of guidelines to orient research in this field is presented and justified. Instances of immigrant political and economic transnationalism have existed in the past. We review some of the most prominent examples, but point to the distinct features that make the contemporary emergence of these activities across multiple national borders worthy of attention. The contents of this Special Issue and their bearing on the present understanding of this phenomenon and its practical implications are summarized.
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Memory has been figured as an important process of placing and locating people and communities, both geographically and socially. Memory has also been significant in research on people who are not part of a formal record of history. This memory work includes a focus on black identity, especially in the work of Toni Morrison and Paul Gilroy. This paper seeks to examine the relevance of memory and re-memory for the social geographies of the South Asian population in Britain. In the first section I examine visual and material cultures as mechanisms for memory, especially their role in figuring diasporic positioning, and identity politics. These memories are in the form of testimonies and biographical narratives. In the paper I have argued for the relevance and value of re-memory in understanding the narratives of British Asian heritage in the everyday domestic environment. Re-memory is an alternative social narrative to memory as it is a form of memory that is not an individual linear, biographical narrative. Re-memory is a conceptualization of encounters with memories, stimulated through scents, sounds and textures in the everyday. 'Home possessions' constitute precipitates of re-memories and narrated histories. These are souvenirs from the traversed landscapes of the journey, signifiers of 'other' narrations of the past not directly experienced but which incorporate narrations of other's oral histories or social histories that are part of the diasporic community's re-memories. Collectively, visual and material cultures are identified as precipitates of these re-memories in the form of historical artefacts of heritage and tradition.
Book
Death, Ritual and Belief, now in its third edition, explores many important issues related to death and dying, from a religious studies perspective, including anthropology and sociology. Using the motif of 'words against death' it depicts human responses to grief by surveying the many ways in which people have not let death have the last word, not simply in terms of funeral rites but also in memorials, graves, and in ideas of ancestors, souls, gods, reincarnation and resurrection, whether in the great religious traditions of the world or in more local customs. He also examines bereavement and grief, experiences of the presence of dead, near-death experiences, pet-death and the symbolic death played out in religious rites. Updated chapters have taken into account new research and include additional topics in this new edition, notably assisted dying, terrorism, green burial, material culture, death online, and the emergence of Death Studies as a distinctive field. Case studies range from Anders Breivik in Norway, to the Princess of Wales, and to the Rapture in the USA. A new perspective is also brought to his account of grief theories Providing an introduction to key authors and authorities on death beliefs, bereavement, grief and ritual-symbolism, Death, Ritual and Belief is an authoritative guide to the perspectives of major religious and secular worldviews
Book
'Imagined Communities' examines the creation & function of the 'imagined communities' of nationality & the way these communities were in part created by the growth of the nation-state, the interaction between capitalism & printing & the birth of vernacular languages in early modern Europe.
Thesis
Unlike many of their North African and West African compatriots who reunified with family and settled in France in the 1970s and 80s, the decision of migrant worker hostel residents not to return definitively to places of origin at retirement is puzzling. Firstly, it calls into question the assumptions of the ‘myth of return’ literature, which explains non-return on the basis of family localisation. In the case of ‘geographically-single’ hostel residents, however, the grounds for non-return cannot be family localisation, since the men’s families remain in places of origin. Secondly, older hostel residents also remain unmoved by the financial incentives of a return homewards, where their French state pensions would have far greater purchasing power. Instead of definitive return, the overwhelming preference of hostel residents is for back-and-forth migration, between the hostel in France and communities of origin. The aim of this dissertation is to resolve this puzzle, by asking: What explains the hostel residents’ preference for back-and-forth mobility over definitive return at retirement? In order to make sense of these mobility decisions, several theories of migration are presented and evaluated against qualitative data from a multi-sited research design incorporating ethnography, life story and semi-structured interviews, and archive material. This fieldwork was carried out across France, Morocco and Senegal. Although no one theory adequately accounts for all the phenomena observed, the added value of each theory becomes most apparent when levels of analysis are kept distinct: at the household level as regards remittances; at the kinship/village level as regards re-integration in the home context; at the meso-level of ethnic communities in terms of migrants’ transnational ties; and at the macro-level of social systems concerning inclusion in healthcare and administrative organisations. Widening the focus beyond the puzzle/dilemma of late-in-life mobility, the thesis concludes by questioning what ‘home’ can mean for the retired hostel residents. An innovative way of theorising home – building on conventional conceptions of home based on territory and community – is outlined, arguing that to be ‘at home’ can also mean to be ‘included’ in different ‘social systems’. With this argument the thesis aims to contribute to broader debates on what it means for immigrants to belong and achieve inclusion in society.
Book
Death is at once a universal and everyday, but also an extraordinary experience in the lives of those affected. Death and bereavement are thereby intensified at (and frequently contained within) certain sites and regulated spaces, such as the hospital, the cemetery and the mortuary. However, death also affects and unfolds in many other spaces: the home, public spaces and places of worship, sites of accident, tragedy and violence. Such spaces, or Deathscapes, are intensely private and personal places, while often simultaneously being shared, collective, sites of experience and remembrance; each place mediated through the intersections of emotion, body, belief, culture, society and the state. Bringing together geographers, sociologists, anthropologists, cultural studies academics and historians among others, this book focuses on the relationships between space/place and death/bereavement in 'western' societies. Addressing three broad themes: the place of death; the place of final disposition; and spaces of remembrance and representation, the chapters reflect a variety of scales ranging from the mapping of bereavement on the individual or in private domestic space, through to sites of accident, battle, burial, cremation and remembrance in public space. The book also examines social and cultural changes in death and bereavement practices, including personalisation and secularisation. Other social trends are addressed by chapters on green and garden burial, negotiating emotion in public/private space, remembrance of violence and disaster, and virtual space. A meshing of material and 'more-than-representational' approaches consider the nature, culture, economy and politics of Deathscapes - what are in effect some of the most significant places in human society.
Book
Whilst the vast majority of recent research on identity and ethnicity amongst South Asians in Britain has focused upon younger people, this book deals with Bengali elders, the first generation of migrants from Sylhet, in Bangladesh. The book describes how many of these elders face the processes of ageing, sickness and finally death, in a country where they did not expect to stay and where they do not necessarily feel they belong. The ways in which they talk about and deal with this, and in particular, their ambivalence towards Britain and Bangladesh lies at the heart of the book. Centrally, the book is based around the men and womens life stories. In her analysis of these, Gardner shows how narratives play an important role in the formation of both collective and individual identity and are key domains for the articulation of gender and age. Underlying the stories that people tell, and sometimes hidden within their gaps and silences, are often other issues and concerns. Using particular idioms and narrative devices, the elders talk about the contradictions and disjunctions of transmigration, their relationship with and sometimes resistance to, the British State, and what they often present as the breakdown of traditional ways. In addition to this, the book shows that histories, stories and identity are not just narrated through words, but also through the body - an area rarely theorized in studies of migration.
Article
Preface Introduction 1. Drifting: Architecture / Migrancy 2. On Cosmopolitanism 3. Architecture as Evidence 4. Mythforms: Techniques of Migrant Place-Making 5. Why Architecture is Neither Here nor There 6. Migration, Exile and Landscapes of the Imagination 7. Building Hong Kong: from Migrancy to Disappearance 8. Conflicting Landscapes of Dwelling and Democracy in Canada 9. Too Many Houses for a Home: Narrating the House in the Chinese Diaspora 10. Emigration / Immigration: Maps, Myths and Origins 11. Earthquake Weather 12. Pacific Migration 13. La Frontera's Siamese Twins 14. Screening Los Angeles: Architecture, Mobility and Migrancy 15. By the Bitstream of Babylon: Cyberfrontiers and Diaspora Vistas
Article
In the context of the administration of spaces assigned by municipalities for the burial of the dead, this article provides a critical analysis of the techniques for the governance of political collectives of citizens implemented by public authorities. More broadly, this article shows how funerary practices (i.e. the social practices surrounding death—the rituals, the legislation, etc.) can be used to develop a critical reading of the social relations that structure the social production of space. To this end, the authors use the conceptual tools provided by critical legal geography to explore the controversy surrounding the development of a ‘carré confessionnel’ (denominational area) within the Bois-de-Vaux Cemetery in Lausanne, Switzerland. Here, a focus on the techniques that allow ‘nomosphere’ technicians to convene a subset of the citizens within the public space reveals the administration of cemeteries as a means of governance, a method for mobilising bodies and a paradoxical means of managing flux.
Article
The Town and its Setting Southern Ghana has for centuries been a region marked by continuous movement of population, both of groups and individuals; by ever-changing forms of social stratification; by urban centres of various kinds and sizes; and by trade with the outside world. Yet tradition and ‘custom’ are of great importance for the people. And despite marked economic and political development, kingship, matrilineal descent, and urbanism have remained central in most of the area in both national and local social systems.
Article
This paper follows the mobilities between 1958 and 1990 of the dead body of Dr Petru Groza (1884–1958), a significant political figure in post-World War II socialist Romania, to explore the implications for human geography of engaging with the dead. Although there has been a considerable interest in ‘geographies of the body’ and ‘deathscapes’, human geography has had relatively little to say about dead bodies. The paper draws on literatures from death studies and dead body politics, as well as research in memory studies, history, anthropology and law, to develop an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the role of the corpse in society, and argues that human geography should do more to consider how dead bodies contribute to the formation of contemporary geographies. To illustrate these points the analysis first explores how the treatment of Groza’s corpse and the ‘deathwork’ associated with it is an example of ‘dead body politics’. Second, the analysis draws out the agency of the corpse and its role in a variety of ‘deathscapes’. The conclusion considers the implications for human geography of engaging with ‘corpse geographies’ more generally.
Article
The geography of religion for UK residents of South Asian origin is inexorably linked to the politics of the built environment. In particular, the siting, or expansion, of places of worship for minority-religious groups has often been bound up with the negotiation and contestation of the politics of identity. In this paper we explore the historical unfolding of a complex politics of identity and difference across one particular site of religious worship. The building in question is the London Fazl Mosque, London's first mosque. The paper focuses on two periods in the architectural, social and religious life of the site: its initial planning, opening and use in the London suburbs of the 1920s; and the community's more recent-and ultimately unsuccessful-attempts to extend the mosque in the 1990s. Across these two periods we draw out the ways in which notions of similarity and difference were employed by mosque-users, other local residents, the press and local and central government bodies in their discourse relating to the mosque. In particular we are concerned with how the mosque has meant different things to different religious, ethnic and social groups across the period under study, and how the mosque's relative ability to conform to associative aesthetic valuations throughout its history effectively sanctioned as well as condemned building works.
Article
The prevalence of a culture of 'tolerance' towards ethnic minorities in the West in the face of the practices of 'ethnic cleansing' in Eastern Europe and of other more general practices of intolerance and extermination in parts of the Third World has led to a popular as well as a sometimes academic conception of 'Western' and 'Eastern' nationalisms essentialised into two radically different kinds of nationalism. In this paper I offer a critique of such a differentiation based on an examination of various practices of dealing with otherness in the process of nation building, particularly in Lebanon and Australia. I argue that practices of nation building, ranging from the promotion of ethnic cultures to mass ethnic killings, are guided by national imaginaries which, despite their empirical variety, are basically structured in the same way. This means, first, that such differences are better understood as the historical or contextual privileging of specific nationalist problematics grounded in this common national imaginary. Second, it means that within the nationalist imaginary that guides them there is a space in which, in given circumstances, the practitioners of valorisation and tolerance can turn into practitioners of mass killings and vice versa without them turning into a radically different kind of nationalists. Far from being specific to an 'Eastern' nationalism, the logic of extermination is inherent to any form of nation building today.
Article
There has been very little research into the effects of urban planning policy and practice upon religious groups amongst the South Asian diaspora in Britain. This paper attempts to make up some of this shortfall by examining the role of urban planning procedure in regulating the location, architectural form and use by Muslims of mosques and religious education establishments in Britain. Birmingham, in the West Midlands, provides the empirical focus. The paper has two parts. The first part is historical and traces the modes of interaction between mosque committees in the city and the local planning authority, focusing principally upon the Birmingham Central Mosque. The second part examines the contemporary situation, using quantitative data on planning decisions and the results of semi-structured interviews with members of various mosque committees in Birmingham. Interviewees were asked to evaluate the responses of the City Council to planning applications relating to their places of worship and education.
Article
The first part of this paper describes three agendas that are shaping contemporary deathscapes in Guangzhou: the modernist planning agenda; the market economy; and the Chinese Communist Party ideology and resistance to it. The second part interprets three significant aspects of these deathscapes: first, the survival of an old tradition ( fengshui ); second, the appearance of a new spatial practice (storage of ashes in landscaped cemeteries); and, third, the contemporary reinterpretation of the grave as a symbol of individual rather than lineage status. Finally, these deathscapes are analysed as 'deathspace', a symbolic system that represents a stage in an ongoing process of conflict and compromise involving the traditional and the modern, the personal and the political, and the sacred and the secular.
Article
AstractThis article explores how far, and to what extent, burial has contributed to the establishment of a Muslim presence in Britain over the past 200 years. By discussing various ways in which Muslims have buried their dead over this period, and some of the problems that they have encountered, it addresses the significance of ritual and place-making in relation to notions of belonging and the construction of identity. In many ways, burial grounds for Muslims in Britain have operated as symbolic devices for community narratives and shared values, which in turn have nurtured forms of identification with place and community. As this article argues, they have helped to create space that demonstrates the changing nature of Muslim ‘rootedness’ within the British environment.
Article
Over recent years, roadside memorials to commemorate people killed in motor vehicle accidents have become increasingly noticeable in parts of the Australian landscape. In Newcastle, New South Wales, roadside memorials are placed for young people. The age/gender group most at risk of road death, and those most memorialised, are young men. This is linked to spatially specific constructions of masculinity which circulate within youth milieux of Newcastle. Like other memorials and monuments these ‘deathscapes’ have multiple meanings, differing between those who build, maintain and interpret them. They function as conservative memorials of youth machismo; of heroic aggression, disregard for safety and egocentrism. Roadside memorials need to be re-read as symbolic of societal flaws; of a wasteful road toll, and a testament to dominant and problematic strains of masculinity.
Article
This paper reviews research on deathscapes, particularly by geographers in the last decade, and argues that many of the issues addressed reflect the concerns that have engaged cultural geographers during the same period. In particular, necrogeographical research reveals the relevance of deathscapes to theoretical arguments about the social constructedness of race, class, gender, nation and nature; the ideological underpinnings of landscapes, the contestation of space, the centrality of place and the multiplicity of meanings. This paper therefore highlights how the focus on one particular form of landscape reveals macro-cultural geographical research interests and trends.
Article
Where cities evolve in contentious political circumstances and make the transition from a colonial to a post-colonial state, aspects of the urban landscape such as public monuments, street nomenclature, buildings, city plans and urban design initiatives take on particular significance. Collectively they demonstrate the fact that the city is the product of a struggle among conflicting interest groups in search of dominion over an environment. As one group seeks dominance over the other the urban landscape often becomes the canvas upon which this power struggle finds expression. Public statues in particular serve as an important source for unravelling the geographies of broader political and cultural shifts. These issues are explored here with reference to Dublin City and the monuments erected to royal monarchs before the achievement of political independence in 1922, namely Kings William I (1701), George I (1722), George II (1758) and Queen Victoria (1908). The fate of such monuments in post-colonial Dublin and the ways in which the fledgling state and particular groups within it sought to express their new found power through both the official and oftentimes wilful destruction of these royal statues is then examined. The paper illuminates the power of public monuments as symbolic sites of meaning and explores their role in the construction of a landscape of colonial power. It also demonstrates how monuments become sites of protest, as symbolic in their removal as in their erection.
Article
This stimulating and thought-provoking book is focused on the various spaces, places and material culture with which people come into contact when dealing with death. It covers the disciplinary perspectives of anthropology, history, sociology and theology and its scope , ranges across the spaces in hospitals where death occurs, to the spaces in which bodies are viewed after death; considers the political nature of memorialising activities, and the therapeutic value of visiting places of death, for example after suicide. The chapters provide rich and current data from a large number of recent UK-based and international projects that examine various forms of death, dying and bereavement, providing insight into the different ways in which dying and bereaved people interact with the environment around them, and ‘the matter’ of death
Article
In this study, newspaper accounts of people who die alone are analysed, drawing on a sample of 90 articles in the anglophone press that appeared in October 1999. Dying alone is represented as a fearful fate and a moral affair, often being the outcome of an undesirable personal character, either of the deceased or of onlookers, or involving the failings of society at large. It is frequently portrayed as occurring to people who are either geographically or socially distant from 'home', so that an imagined community of readers is encouraged to contemplate a death alone as the consequence of personal or societal breakdown. A degree of stigmatisation, sometimes of those who die alone, sometimes of those perceived to have caused this event, was evident. The negative evaluation of death alone parallels that found in some traditional societies where a death far from home is considered 'bad'. Dying alone contrasts significantly with the sociable, 'good', confessional deaths of newspaper columnists and other media celebrities facing terminal illness.
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Bereavement, belief and sense-making in the contemporary British landscape: Three case studies
  • A Maddrell
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Death and the regeneration of life
  • M Bloch
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