Songs For Dead Parents: Corpse, Text, And World In Southwest China by Erik MuegglerSongs For Dead Parents: Corpse, Text, And World In Southwest China by Erik Mueggler

Songs For Dead Parents: Corpse, Text, And World In Southwest China

byErik Mueggler

Paperback | December 9, 2017

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 173 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


In a society that has seen epochal change over a few generations, what remains to hold people together and offer them a sense of continuity and meaning? In Songs for Dead Parents, Erik Mueggler shows how in contemporary China death and the practices surrounding it have become central to maintaining a connection with the world of ancestors, ghosts, and spirits that socialism explicitly disavowed.
Drawing on more than twenty years of fieldwork in a mountain community in Yunnan Province, Songs for Dead Parents shows how people view the dead as both material and immaterial, as effigies replace corpses, tombstones replace effigies, and texts eventually replace tombstones in a long process of disentangling the dead from the shared world of matter and memory. It is through these processes that people envision the cosmological underpinnings of the world and assess the social relations that make up their community. Thus, state interventions aimed at reforming death practices have been deeply consequential, and Mueggler traces the transformations they have wrought and their lasting effects.
Erik Mueggler is professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan. He was a 2002 MacArthur Foundation Fellow.
Title:Songs For Dead Parents: Corpse, Text, And World In Southwest ChinaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:December 9, 2017Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022648100X

ISBN - 13:9780226481005

Look for similar items by category:


Editorial Reviews

“Working with villagers in north-central Yunnan over more than twenty years, Mueggler analyzes funeral rituals once banned as ‘superstition’ and now critical to sustaining rural communities serving as labor reserves in China’s new economy. Embodiments of the dead—corpses, stones, texts, chants—have disturbing counterparts in their living descendants whose prolonged absences as labor migrants from their natal communities threaten to extinguish them as social persons. This extraordinary study will be of vital interest to scholars within and beyond Asian Studies, including anthropologists and historians of religion, politics, kinship, and the political economy of health, and those integrating methods and theories from anthropology, history, and literature.”