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Studies in Death, Materiality and the Origin of Time

About the Series

Eventually we all die - and we experience death head-on, when someone close to us dies. This series, Studies in Death, Materiality and the Origin of Time, identifies this fact as constitutive of the origin of human conceptions of time. Time permeates everything, but except for time itself all things are perishable - yet, it is only through the perishable world of things and bodies that we sense time. Bringing together scholarly work across a range of disciplines, the series explores the fact that human experiences and conceptions of time inherently hinge on the material world, and that time as a socially experienced phenomenon cannot be understood as separate from material form or expression. As such, it departs from a persistent current within Western thinking. Philosophy, biology and physics, among other disciplines, have studied time as an essential, ethereal and abstract concept. In the same way, death has often been conceived of in abstract and sometimes transcendental terms as occupying one extreme margin of human life. As an alternative, this series examines the ways in which bodily death and material decay are central points of reference in social life, which offer key insights into human perceptions of time.

7 Series Titles

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Human Sacrifice and Value Revisiting the Limits of Sacred Violence from an Anthropological and Archaeological Perspective

Human Sacrifice and Value: Revisiting the Limits of Sacred Violence from an Anthropological and Archaeological Perspective

1st Edition


Edited By Sean O'Neill, Matthew J. Walsh, Marianne Moen, Svein H. Gullbekk
October 09, 2023

This volume explores concepts of human sacrifice, focusing on its value – or multiplicity of values – in relative cultural and temporal terms, whether sacrifice is expressed in actual killings, in ideas revolving around ritualized, sanctioned, or sanctified violence or loss, or in transformed and (...

Postmortal Society Towards a Sociology of Immortality

Postmortal Society: Towards a Sociology of Immortality

1st Edition

Edited By Michael Hviid Jacobsen
October 25, 2018

Throughout history mankind has struggled to reconcile itself with the inescapability of its own mortality. This book explores the themes of immortality and survivalism in contemporary culture, shedding light on the varied and ingenious ways in which humans and human societies aspire to confront and...

Materialities of Passing Explorations in Transformation, Transition and Transience

Materialities of Passing: Explorations in Transformation, Transition and Transience

1st Edition

Edited By Peter Bjerregaard, Anders Emil Rasmussen, Tim Flohr Sørensen
July 30, 2018

‘Passing’ is a common euphemism for the death of a person, as he or she is said to ‘pass away’ or ‘pass on’. This open-ended saying has at its heart a notion of transformation from one state to another, which in turn grants the possibility of grasping or approximating the passage of time and the ...

Mediating and Remediating Death

Mediating and Remediating Death

1st Edition

Edited By Dorthe Refslund Christensen, Kjetil Sandvik
July 30, 2018

From the ritual object which functions as a substitute for the dead - thus acting as a medium for communicating with the ’other world’ - to the representation of death, violence and suffering in media, or the use of online social networks as spaces of commemoration, media of various kinds are ...

The Rise of Contemporary Spiritualism Concepts and controversies in talking to the dead

The Rise of Contemporary Spiritualism: Concepts and controversies in talking to the dead

1st Edition

By Anne Kalvig
October 17, 2016

Talking to the dead and communication with 'the other side' is often presented as a taboo in an increasingly technological and medically advanced world. However, practices of spiritualism and mediumship continue to remain popular and in high demand within contemporary Western societies. This book ...

Taming Time, Timing Death Social Technologies and Ritual

Taming Time, Timing Death: Social Technologies and Ritual

1st Edition

Edited By Rane Willerslev, Dorthe Refslund Christensen
September 06, 2016

Departing from a persisting current in Western thought, which conceives of time in the abstract, and often reflects upon death as occupying a space at life's margins, this book begins from position that it is in fact through the material and perishable world that we experience time. As such, it is...

Suicide and Agency Anthropological Perspectives on Self-Destruction, Personhood, and Power

Suicide and Agency: Anthropological Perspectives on Self-Destruction, Personhood, and Power

1st Edition

Edited By Ludek Broz, Daniel Münster
February 04, 2016

Suicide and Agency offers an original and timely challenge to existing ways of understanding suicide. Through the use of rich and detailed case studies, the authors assembled in this volume explore how interplay of self-harm, suicide, personhood and agency varies markedly across site (Greenland, ...

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