Death and dissolution in the Pacific


In Pacific anthropology, it has long been assumed that funerary rites – the largest-scale rituals across the region – serve to repair the social relationships torn apart by the death of a relative. In fact, their function is the reverse. Funerary rites actually complete the dissolution of social ties so that new life and new social relations can begin. In this view, life is a process of building connections with others, which are then dismantled with death. This offers a new view of cosmic relevance to religion in Oceania and elsewhere.

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Updated:  24 April, 2017/Responsible Officer:  Dean, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team