Author:Ellen Badone (McMaster University)
Paper short abstract:
This paper focuses on experiences of communications from the deceased in contemporary North America, outside a formal institutional religious framework.
Paper long abstract:
Based on ethnographic fieldwork at the Sixth Annual Afterlife Awareness Conference in St. Louis, MO, this paper discusses contemporary understandings of the afterlife in North America, and describes how people interpret incidents or phenomena in the environment as signs from deceased family members. Interactions between the living and the dead through mediums are also considered. I argue that after death communications are central to griefwork and the work of kinship in contemporary North America, and that increased anthropological attention should be brought to bear on the maintenance of ongoing ties between the living and the dead in our own society.
The ontological turn: new ethnographic approaches, theories and analysis of spirit mediumship, shamanism, religious ritual and discarnate phenomena