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Accepted Paper:

The triumph of death? The living and the dead among Lithuanian rural Catholics  
Lina PranaitytÄ—-Wergin (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology)

Paper long abstract:

Far from accepting Catholic doctrinal notions of death as full explanations, rural Lithuanian Catholics practice a form of bricolage rooted in personal experiences of death and the afterlife. Knowledge obtained from communicating with the dead in dreams, and stories of feeling the physical presence of the deceased are often more significant for them than dogmatic preachings about this-worldly life and the beyond. This paper focuses on exchange transactions and forms of communication between the living and the dead in rural Lithuanian villages. I argue that these practices can also be understood as ways of 'taming death'. The exchange practices connecting the church, priests and the deceased are conceptualized as ways to support and restore institutional order, but also to recreate a cosmological order based in extra-institutional ideas about death.

Panel W013
Death and imagination: creative strategies to embrace and avoid the crisis of death
  Session 1