Social Epistemology 30 (3):326-345 (2016)

Authors
Philip Olson
Virginia Tech
Abstract
Adopting a waste-directed study of the dead human body, and various practices of body preparation and body disposition in funerary contexts, I argue that necro-waste is a ubiquitous but largely unknown presence. To know necro-waste is to examine the ways in which the dead human body is embedded in particular personal, social, historical, political, and environmental contexts. This study focuses on funerary practices in the US and Canada, where embalming has been routinely practiced. Viewing dead human bodies as materials processed by a robust funerary-industrial complex, I describe the processes by which the human body becomes separated into funeral products and funeral waste. I explain how funeral products themselves may be treated as waste, and I discuss varying attitudes toward the meaning and status of the human corpse. A waste-directed study of the human corpse is compatible with the symbolic dignity universally attributed to the dead human body. Yet, if the practices through which people honor the d..
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DOI 10.1080/02691728.2015.1015063
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References found in this work BETA

Knowing Waste: Towards an Inhuman Epistemology.Myra J. Hird - 2012 - Social Epistemology 26 (3-4):453-469.
The Mistreatment of Dead Bodies.Joel Feinberg - 1985 - Hastings Center Report 15 (1):31-37.
Tasteless: Towards a Food-Based Approach to Death.Val Plumwood - 2008 - Environmental Values 17 (3):323 - 330.

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