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Songs for dead parents : corpse, text, and world in Southwest China

Author: Erik Mueggler
Publisher: Chicago : The University of Chicago Press, 2017. ©2017
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
In a society that has seen epochal change over a few generations, what remains to hold people together and offer them a sense of continuity and meaning? In Songs for Dead Parents, Erik Mueggler shows how in contemporary China death and the practices surrounding it have become central to maintaining a connection with the world of ancestors, ghosts, and spirits that socialism explicitly disavowed. Drawing on more than  Read more...
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Erik Mueggler
ISBN: 9780226483382 022648338X 9780226481005 022648100X
OCLC Number: 979677776
Description: x, 336 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Contents: 1. Corpse, stone, door, text --
2. A life, a soul, a body --
3. Playing with corpses --
4. Making the dead modern --
5. Songs for dead parents --
6. Earth work --
7. Soul work --
8. Body work.
Responsibility: Erik Mueggler.

Abstract:

In a society that has seen epochal change over a few generations, what remains to hold people together and offer them a sense of continuity and meaning? In Songs for Dead Parents, Erik Mueggler shows how in contemporary China death and the practices surrounding it have become central to maintaining a connection with the world of ancestors, ghosts, and spirits that socialism explicitly disavowed. Drawing on more than twenty years of fieldwork in a mountain community in Yunnan Province, Songs for Dead Parents shows how people view the dead as both material and immaterial, as effigies replace corpses, tombstones replace effigies, and texts eventually replace tombstones in a long process of disentangling the dead from the shared world of matter and memory. It is through these processes that people envision the cosmological underpinnings of the world and assess the social relations that make up their community. Thus, state interventions aimed at reforming death practices have been deeply consequential, and Mueggler traces the transformations they have wrought and their lasting effects.

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