The dead in social life: death in the (re) constitution of sociality of the still living 
Damian Grenfell (RMIT University)
Chancellery Building, A1-014
Friday 7 December, 9:00-10:30, 13:45-15:15 (UTC+0)

Short Abstract:

This panel invites contributions that will examine how forms of contemporary forms of sociality between the still living are shaped by death, both where there are strong beliefs in ancestral spirits and an after-life, and also where secularism dominates associated beliefs and practices.

Long Abstract

In many communities and societies the dead are a central element to the social connectedness of the still-living, albeit in different ways. The experience of the death of a person can be important in the constitution of new social relationships and the reconstitution and reconfiguring of existing ones over extended periods fo time (and potentially invoking multiple forms of temporality). Whether it be focusing on post-conflict societies that have experienced high numbers of unnatural deaths from warfare, or cases of natural death that can occur in any society, or other circumstances again, this panel invites participants to engage in questions of contemporary sociality and the relations of the still-living as forged by the experience of death. This can include the ways in which death informs the various points of interconnection between the still-living in predominantly secular societies through the lens of the role of religion, or, in particular where there are beliefs in the potency and agency of spiritual actants, particularly ancestors. As per the last point, this panel seeks to investigate forms of social connectedness between the still-living (at an empirical, conceptual and/or ontological level) so that even when considering the relationship between those who still 'draw breath' and the ancestral domain, the focus nevertheless for this panel remains on the social relations of the still living.

Accepted papers: