onsdag 26. juni 2024

Tang Shenqi: Dying Far From Home in Modern China

Funerals and burials are important clan activities in China, part of a large and complex system of clan rituals. Traditional customs dictate that only after a diseased person has been buried can they become an official ancestor and receive sacrifices from their clansmen. Funerals and burials are therefore important rites of passage in Chinese clans that serve to establish bonds between clansmen across generations.

However, rapid social and economic changes in recent decades have led to hundreds of millions of migrant workers leaving their homes to work in cities, with China’s “floating population” now around 385 million. For my doctoral research, I wanted to find out what happens when internal migrants die in today’s China. What I found was that many of the practices surrounding funerals and burials have gone through profound changes.