Death in the Early Twenty-first Century

Authority, Innovation, and Mortuary Rites

  • Sébastien Penmellen Boret
  • Susan Orpett Long
  • Sergei Kan

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Sébastien Penmellen Boret, Susan Orpett Long, Sergei Kan
    Pages 1-27
  3. Culture, Religion, and the Uses of Tradition

  4. Personhood, Memory, and Technology

  5. Individual, Choice, and Identity

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 215-215
    2. Sébastien Penmellen Boret
      Pages 217-253
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 291-295

About this book


Focusing on tradition, technology, and authority, this volume challenges classical understandings that mortuary rites are inherently conservative. The contributors examine innovative and enduring ideas and practices of death, which reflect and constitute changing patterns of social relationships, memorialisation, and the afterlife. This cross-cultural study examines the lived experiences of men and women from societies across the globe with diverse religious heritages and secular value systems. The book demonstrates that mortuary practices are not fixed forms, but rather dynamic processes negotiated by the dying, the bereaved, funeral experts, and public institutions. In addition to offering a new theoretical perspective on the anthropology of death, this work provides a rich resource for readers interested in human responses to mortality: the one certainty of human existence.


Death and societal relationships mortuary rites Death customs History of death Bereavement funerals death rites memorialisation mortuary practices funeral experts bereaved dying anthropology of death mortality grieving grief

Editors and affiliations

  • Sébastien Penmellen Boret
    • 1
  • Susan Orpett Long
    • 2
  • Sergei Kan
    • 3
  1. 1.IRIDeS BureauTohoku UniversityAoba, SendaiJapan
  2. 2.John Carroll University University HeightsUSA
  3. 3.Department of AnthropologyDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA

Bibliographic information