Taming Time, Timing Death : Social Technologies and Ritual book cover
1st Edition

Taming Time, Timing Death
Social Technologies and Ritual

ISBN 9781138253520
Published September 6, 2016 by Routledge
286 Pages

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Book Description

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 with death and our encounters with it, that form the basis of human conceptions of time. Presenting rich, interdisciplinary empirical studies of death rituals and practices across the globe, from the US and Europe, Asia, The Middle East, Australasia and Africa, Taming Time, Timing Death explores the manner in which social technologies and rituals have been and are implemented to avoid, delay or embrace death, or communicate with the dead, thus informing and manifesting humans' understanding of time. It will therefore be of interest to scholars and students of anthropology, philosophy, sociology and social theory, human geography and religion.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction: taming time, taming death, Rane Willerslev, Dorthe Refslund Christensen and Lotte Meinert; Part I Conceptualizations of Death, Materiality and Time: ’Seaweed and limpets will grow on our grave stones’: on islands, time, death and inhuman materialities, Stuart McLean; Death, witchcraft and the temporal aspects of divination, Knut Rio; Time, late modernity and the demise of forever: from eternal salvation to completed bucket lists, Michael C. Kearl and Michael Hviid Jacobsen. Part II Death’s Time: Mourning and Remembrance: Rebirth and the death drive: rethinking Freud’s ’mourning and melancholia’ through a Siberian time perspective, Rane Willerslev; Sharing death: conceptions of time at a Danish online memorial site, Dorthe Refslund Christensen and Kjetil Sandvik; Stones, shamans and pastors: pagan and Baptist temporalities of death in tribal India, Piers Vitebsky. Part III Living with the Dead: Ancestors, Landscape and Agency: Dealing with dead saints, Mikkel Bille; Pilgrimage landscape as material anchor of time, Jesper Østergaard; Creating the new times: reburials after war in Northern Uganda, Lotte Meinert and Susan Reynolds-Whyte; Memory and succession in the City of the Dead: temporality in the Ancient Egyptian mortuary cult, Rune Nyord. Part IV Self-death: Corporeality and Willed Death: Death and meateriality, Kristian Bjørkdahl and Karen Lykke Syse; Defacing: becoming by killing, Henrik Hvenegaard Mikkelsen; Dying on time: cultures of death and time in Muslim Northern Nigeria, Murray Last; Index.

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Dorthe Refslund Christensen is Associate Professor of Cultural Studies at Aarhus University, Denmark. Rane Willerslev is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo, Norway. He is author of Soul Hunters: Hunting, Animism and Personhood among the Siberian Yukaghirs and On the Run in Siberia.


"This stimulating volume materialises the promising future of a book series exclusively dedicated to the study of Death, Materiality and Time that readers will enjoy to follow."—  Cristian Simonetti, Mortality: Promoting the interdisciplinary study of death and dying