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Social Anthropology: News


Marina Marouda wins RAI Sutasoma Award 2008

Marina Marouda has won the RAI Sutasoma Award for 2008, for her PhD Lives Intimately Connected: The Dead and the Living in Contemporary Central Viet Nam. The Trustees state that the award recognizes the potentially outstanding merit of her research. 

Lives intimately connected: the dead and the living in contemporary central Viet Nam

The thesis is an ethnographic study of the importance of the dead in the making of kinship and the state in contemporary Vietnam. It focuses on the ritual practices relating to the dead as enacted in Hue, the capital of imperial and colonial Vietnam. In late-socialist Vietnam, the landscape of the dead is an overgrown one marked by a plethora of departed whose posthumous fate pre-occupies the everyday lives of villagers, royals, and state agents. This plethora includes celebrated war heroes, benevolent dead kin, malevolent ghosts, and glorious kings of the past. The study aims at showing how different categories of the dead are made and remade by the ritual actions and/or neglect of the living. It highlights the instability, uncertainty, and ambiguity that characterize posthumous existence as much as the conditions of the living. The present study looks at kinship from the perspective of the relations between the living and the dead. Such multivalent, complex, and historically changing relations are essential in the articulation of a shared sense of intimacy punctuated as much by duties of commemoration as by exchanges of valuables and blessings that intertwine the everyday with the cosmological. 

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