Conference on social mourning
Date: 25 june 2012 at 18:30 to 21:00. Monday.
Place: Conference room at the Institute López Piéro (Palacio de Cerveró. Plaza Cisneros, 4. Valencia)
The Institute for the History of Medicine and Science López Piñero (joint center of the University of Valencia and CSIC), located in the Palacio de Cerveró and in collaboration with Grupo Mémora, presents the conference “Anthropology of Death and social mourning in public spaces” (new ritual patterns in public spaces: the case of memorials of the train stations in Madrid after the 2004 Madrid train bombings) to be held next Monday June 25 at 18:30 in the Institute's Conference Room. The talk, given by the anthropologist and tenured scientist of the CSIC (INCIPIT, Santiago de Compostela), Cristina Sánchez-Carretero, will address the processes surrounding the different ways of conceiving the experience of death in different societies.
Death is a social fact par excellence and, at the same time, one of the most individual. The processes surrounding the death, which mark the end of the lifecycle, are conceived very differently in different cultures. Death can be defeated, incorporated, see the dying as a hero or a victim, or it can be considered as the end of life or as the beginning of a new stage. In industrial societies death has drifted apart, establishing a dependency on the institutions at that time. The hospital becomes the commonplace of death; processes that deal with death are managed by medicine and ritualized in the morgue.
Likewise, besides individual mourning, increasingly locked in private spaces, in recent decades we are witnessing the making of public spaces for public expression of grief for deaths that are particularly traumatic for society. Disasters, massacres and terrorist attacks are memorialised in public places using a repertoire of acts of mourning that have become a common pattern in many Western countries. When death is felt in a particularly tragic way in society, either because there are anonymous victims or because the victim is a popular media personality, mechanisms of mourning in public spaces are put in place. This conference will take the example of the memorials of the March 11 train bombings in Madrid and the research project "The Archive of Mourning" developed in the CSIC.
Cristina Sánchez-Carretero is an anthropologist and has a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, where she received the Dean's Scholar Award 2002. Today, she is a tenured scientist at the Institute of Heritage Sciences (Incipit) of the CSIC, where she coordinates the specialty of Anthropology. Her research focuses on processes of establishing tradition and heritage in contemporary societies, the study of new rituals of mourning, and the intersection between migration processes and the revival of religious practices.
She is the main researcher of the project "The Archive of Mourning" (HUM2005-03490), and at the same time, coordinates the CSIC node for the European project of the Seventh Framework Programme "Cultural Heritage and the Reconstruction of Identities after Conflict" (2008-2012). She is part of the executive committee of the International Association of Ethnology (SIEF). She is the author of the book “Grassroots Memorials. The Politics of Memorialising Traumatic Death” (Oxford: Berghahn, 2011), edited with Peter Jan Margry, and “The Archive of Mourning. Analysis of Public Response to the March 11 bombings in Madrid” (Madrid: CSIC, 2011), and the articles "The Politics of Memorializing Traumatic Death", in Anthropology Today (2007) and "Rethinking Ethnology in the Spanish Context" in European Ethnology (2008).
University of Valencia, CSIC, Institute López Piñero and Grupo Mémora.