Accepted paper:

Politicized Ritual Silence in the Netherlands: The Silent March

Authors:

Peter Jan Margry (University of Amsterdam/Meertens Institute, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

Since the 1990's the silent march has become an established ritual of memorialization in times of societal crisis after disasters and untimely deaths. This paper argues that the march not only is an instrument for coping with traumatic death, but also a ritual of protest and binding.

Paper long abstract:

Especially since the 1990's the silent march has become an established nation-wide ritual of memorialization in times of societal crisis after disasters and for victims of 'senseless violence' and untimely deaths. This paper argues that in the Netherlands - a country divided along ethnic and religious lines - this ritual has not only become an instrument for coping with traumatic death, but also a ritual of protest. Via mediatized channels the ritual creates and expresses a national form of civil religion, and is hence able to generate binding forces in a contemporary multicultural society. Contrary to other public ritual expressions of protest and demonstrations, the silent march is characterized by silence and a minimal presence of related material culture. The paper will address how the absence of both characteristics have an effect on the performance and meaning of the ritual.

panel P088
Silences of/and mobility: towards an anthropology of the unspoken and unspeakable