Mapping the obituary: notes towards a Bourdieusian interpretation

Fowler, B. (2005) Mapping the obituary: notes towards a Bourdieusian interpretation. Sociological Review Monograph, 52, pp. 148-171. (doi:10.1111/j.1467-954X.2005.00529.x)

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Abstract

An important strand of feminist practice has been the reconstruction of women's experience historically, using auto/biographical sources. This process has gone under the metaphorical banner of retrieving the hidden from history, bringing the invisible into visibility, giving voices to the silenced. One social mechanism that has been significant as a first stage towards remembering individuals has been the publication of an obituary on their death. A particularly influential form of collective memory is derived from these literary memorials. Yet, despite their appearance as a mere series of individual portraits, the written texts of the obituary possess a certain authority and their subjects receive from such accolades the stamp of legitimacy. Indeed, this social order of remembrance appears only to offer an anticipated bestowal of dignity on those who are in any case 'naturally' distinguished. Such an apparently obligatory social order allows us to see in the newspaper obituary something of the character of modern invented traditions.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Feminist Theory, Théorie Féministe, Feminisme.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Fowler, Professor Bridget
Authors: Fowler, B.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Sociological Review Monograph
ISSN:0081-1769

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