Slovenski etnografski muzej

Številka revije 
Etnolog 9/1 (1999)
Strani 
163-194
Članek v pdf obliki 
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Zmanjkalo je solz

The future, if not the present, will corroborate the thesis that the phenomenon of death has been made a taboo subject during this century; that it has been denounced and repudiated by the society. Consequently, a crisis of the society, and an existential crisis of the individual have arisen."The society has become ashamed of death, afraid of death and to hide that fear it behaves as if death does not exist." (Aries)
The phenomenon of death is to be conceptualised through time-space dimension and the dichotomy between the traditional and the post-modern in at least four key moments:
a.) the process of dying ('saying farewell');
b) the actual moment of death;
c) the funeral rites;
d) the moment of acceptance of Significant Other's death.
The paper concentrates on the funeral rites - the "removal of the deceased". Beside various types of funeral practices, we are particularly interested in time and setting in which the rites take place. The course and duration of the ritual as well represent the process of how death has been made into a taboo. Changes of timing, course and duration of the funeral rites have been followed by other transformations, moving away even further from traditional practices. Speedy, cold, detached and industrialised funeral services, simplified to the utmost extent and performed by specialised institutions ('the funeral industry'), are typical of post-modern society. The only exception are funerals of the rich and the famous; there is plenty of public display of grief, lots of wreaths and no economising regards flowers.
In a traditional society, where death is explicated, set in a context and taken under ritual control, the free individuals oppose the collective spirit, yet they are left to their own resources to make sense of Death. The old explanations appear obsolete and the new ones unconvincing - resulting in an existential crisis of the individual.
Autonomy from nature and higher forces, dynamism, differentiation, complexity, formalisation and universalisation - all these factors turn the dead into an obsession of the subconscious. Alongside the already familiar, routine funeral rites, the paper discloses particular, more subtle and specific rites. They cannot be generalised in case of entire regions or nations. Nevertheless, they form an additional - however small - piece of the mosaic under the title ”The Taboo of My Day and Age”.