© 2010

An Anthropology of Absence

Materializations of Transcendence and Loss

  • Mikkel Bille
  • Frida Hastrup
  • Tim Flohr Soerensen

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Toward an Anthropology of Absence

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Mikkel Bille, Frida Hastrup, Tim Flohr Sørensen
      Pages 3-22
    3. Severin Fowles
      Pages 23-41
  3. Embodying Absence

  4. Temporalities of Absence

  5. Materializing Remembrance

  6. Ambiguous Materialities

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 148-148
    2. Victor Buchli
      Pages 185-203
  7. Commentary

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 206-206
    2. Lynn Meskell
      Pages 207-213
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 215-221

About this book


In studying material culture, anthropologists and archaeologists use meaningful physical objects from a culture to help understand the less tangible aspects of that culture, such as societal structure, rituals, and values. What happens when these objects are destroyed, by war, natural disaster, or other historical events? Through detailed explanations of eleven international case studies, the contributions reveal that the absence of objects can be just as telling as their presence, while the objects created to memorialize a loss also have important cultural implications. 

Covering everything from organ donation, to funerary rituals, to prisoners of war, The Anthropology of Absence is written at an important intersection of archaeological and anthropological study. Divided into three sections, this volume uses the "presence" of absence to compare cultural perceptions of: material qualities and created memory, the mind/body connection, temporality, and death.

This rich text provides a strong theoretical framework for anthropologists and archaeologists studying material culture.


Archaeological Theory Battlefield Archaeology Cultural Heritage Disaster Archaeology Materialism Memoria created memory material culture

Editors and affiliations

  • Mikkel Bille
    • 1
  • Frida Hastrup
    • 2
  • Tim Flohr Soerensen
    • 3
  1. 1.Dept. Cross-Cultural &University of CopenhagenKoebenhavn SDenmark
  2. 2.Dept. AnthropologyUniversity of CopenhagenKoebenhavn KDenmark
  3. 3.Dept. Anthropology & ArchaeologyUniversity of AarhusHoejbjergDenmark

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title An Anthropology of Absence
  • Book Subtitle Materializations of Transcendence and Loss
  • Editors Mikkel Bille
    Frida Hastrup
    Tim Flohr Soerensen
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag New York 2010
  • Publisher Name Springer, New York, NY
  • eBook Packages Humanities, Social Sciences and Law Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-4419-5528-9
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-4899-8336-7
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-4419-5529-6
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XI, 221
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Anthropology
    Cultural Heritage
  • Buy this book on publisher's site