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Dancing on the grave | Stephen Jones: a blog

Barley grave cover

  • Nigel Barley, Dancing on the grave: encounters with loss of life (1995).

The harmless anthropologist is cited so typically in my posts on fieldwork that I’ve awarded Barley his personal tag in the sidebar.

Since a lot of my work in China consists in documenting funerals, it is smart for me to hunt views from round the world. While taking into consideration the extra abstruse ritual theories so lucidly launched by Catherine Bell, Nigel Barley is at all times immensely readable. With typical humour, he surveys the number of methods of viewing loss of life and coping with it, that are such an idée fixe of anthropology. Citing the main gamers similar to Malinowski, Durkheim, Levi-Strauss, and Bloch, he refers to a vary of subject reviews.

Like detective fiction, it isn’t shocking “that Western anthropologists have sought, in funerary apply, the sense of an ending that will clear up and interpret all the vicissitudes of…


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