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As a place to die, to dispose of the physical remains of the deceased and to perform the rites that ensure that the departed attains a "good state" after death, the north Indian city of Banaras attracts pilgrims and mourners from all over the Hindu world. This book is primarily about the priests and other kinds of "sacred specialists" who serve them, about the way in which they organize their business, and about their representations of death and understandings of the rituals over which they preside.Read more
- Author very well known both for work on Banaras and theoretical contribution to anthropology of death
- Though a difficult subject, extremely lucid exposition
- Equal appeal to anthropologist and Indologist
Reviews & endorsements
"The author has done a superb job in combining description and analysis, his conclusions are both provocative and informative. There is no doubt that this work is a major contribution to the meager literature on the anthropology of symbolism of death and the sociology of specialists in the sacred. It is a 'must read' for those interested in topics such as death, death rituals, and pilgrimage." Choice
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- Date Published: March 1995
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521466257
- length: 344 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
- weight: 0.51kg
- contains: 12 b/w illus. 6 maps 9 tables
- availability: Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer
Table of Contents
Part I. Death and the City:
1. Through 'divine eyes'
2. A profane perspective
Part II. Death as a Living:
3. Shares and chicanery
4. Giving, receiving and bargaining over gifts
Part III. Death into Birth:
5. The last sacrifice
6. Ghosts into ancestors
7. Spirit possession as 'superstition'
Part IV. The End of Death:
8. Asceticism and the conquest of death.
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