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date: 19 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

As representations of mourning and beliefs about death, gravemarkers and memorial assemblages (also referred to as spontaneous shrines and makeshift memorials) are often cast in binary opposition, defined by temporal intention on the part of the maker(s). Gravemarkers have been studied for their materialization of ideological, socioeconomic, and aesthetic values and trends. As artifacts intended to be permanent, gradual changes in markers may provide a record of the twin forces of folklore, conservatism and dynamism, at work in shaping themes in funerary practices over time. In contrast to gravemarkers, memorial assemblages are marked as ephemeral, underscoring human mortality. Folkloristic research seeks to understand the participatory and performative nature of both markers and assemblages, noting the memorial, celebratory, and other communicative intentions and possibilities embodied by ritual and assemblage in addition to considerations of form. Moreover, these lieux de memoire are more holistically understood in relation to each other, as elements of dynamic memorial complexes.

Keywords: belief, cemeteries, custom, folk art, folklife, gravemarker, legend, rite of passage, ritual, worldview

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