The Disposal of Dead Persons

  • Lindsay Prior


Discourse creates its own object. Death is, in this sense, a product of the forms of knowledge and practice which surround it. And so too with the dead person. Indeed, our very notion of a person is, as Mauss suggested in his 1938 paper, nothing but a product of social organisation.

From a simple masquerade to the mask, from a ‘role’ to a ‘person’, to a name, to an individual; from the latter to a being possessing metaphysical and moral value; from a moral consciousness to a sacred being; from the latter to a fundamental form of thought and action — the course is accomplished. (Mauss, 1985:22)


Religious Service Religious Ritual Collective Judgement Dead Person Funerary Ritual 
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Copyright information

© Lindsay Prior 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lindsay Prior
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of UlsterJordanstownUK

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