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Barshack, L. (2001). Death and the Political: On the taming of death in social structure and ritual. Free Associations, 8(3):435-462.

(2001). Free Associations, 8(3):435-462

Death and the Political: On the taming of death in social structure and ritual

Lior Barshack

The handling of death consists in its projection from the social to the Political. The legal-political centre of every social structure plays a constant role, across different historical periods, in the control, integration and humanization of death. In order to establish its authority, the Political — the dwelling-place of (projected) death — must display its easy seizure and disposal of death. In modern private spheres, the taming of death cannot be carried out due to their dissociation from the Political, to the effect that death is denied. Before the rise of these private, liminoid (Turner) spheres of life which celebrate subjective freedom, death had been collectively tamed in all spheres of life, whether by projection onto society's Capital Stage (the Political) or, during ritual suspensions of this hegemonic centre, by ecstatic re-incorporation into the social.

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