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Uncertain death: narrative and physical death and the spaces in between 
Cormac Cleary (University of Edinburgh)
Ritti Soncco (CESIE)
Jessica Fagin (University of Exeter)
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Saturday 10 June, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Prague

Short Abstract:

Questioning the phrase “The only certainty in life is death”, this panel explores the different forms death takes in human and nonhuman interactions: social death, death metaphors, biological death, death of things whose life is ontologically contested, power regimes in death narratives, and more.

Long Abstract:

“The only certainty in life is death.” So goes the saying, but is it true? Inspired by the theme of “uncertainty”, this panel seeks ethnographic examples and/or experimental musings on times when death as certainty was undermined. In our “age of extinction”, there has been a growing interest in the emotional registers of death (e.g. grief, mourning) to explore human interactions with the nonhuman environment, both biotic and abiotic. Nonhuman life can collaborate with biological death (Tsing, 2015). Languages, communities, and lifeways are perceived as dying at the hands of environmental, social, and economic change. Scholars and politicians announce the “death of multiculturalism”, while simultaneously claiming it was never effectively alive and well (Kundnani, 2002). Sufferers of chronic illness are described as living a “social death” (Mattingly, 1998) and yet are still biologically alive. Meanwhile, millennials are accused of “killing” various industries from dairy to golf. This panel asks: What different forms does dying take? In what contexts do these metaphorical and narrative deaths and killings interact with agents and victims of biological killing? What regimes of power are enabled through narratives which claim the death of something? Can death be interrupted and who benefits from this? This panel aims to bring together researchers of different forms of death to have a respectful, thought-provoking and meaningful dialogue about the multiplicity of death in the contemporary world.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Saturday 10 June, 2023, -
Session 2 Saturday 10 June, 2023, -