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The Political Lives Of Dead Bodies Reburial and Postsocialist Change cover
  • ISBN: 9780231112307
  • ISBN10: 0231112300

The Political Lives Of Dead Bodies Reburial and Postsocialist Change

by Katherine Verdery

  • List Price: $90.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Columbia Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 03/01/1999
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Description
As socialist regimes crumbled across Eastern Europe and statues of their leaders were dismantled, another pattern arose in the former Iron Curtain nations: the bodies of political leaders, revolutionary heroes, artists, and other luminaries were taken from their graves to be reinterred -- and in many cases, repatriated -- in new, symbolically charged locations. What forces inspired these exhumations of long-dead spirits of Eastern Europe's past, from composer Bela Bartok's New York -- Budapest journey to evictions of a group of Romanian communist leaders from their exalted mausoleums to a scattering of humble graveyards? What are the effects for the living of removing the bones of the dead from their resting places for ceremonial -- or unceremonious -- reburial?

In this provocative book, renowned anthropologist Katherine Verdery explores Eastern Europe's political transformation from the perspective of sacred, symbolic ways that nations and cultures redefine themselves when new political orders are installed.

Verdery unpacks the meaning of these reburials with a wealth of fascinating examples. Along with Czar Nicholas II and Lenin, they include:
-- Imre Nagy -- a dishonored Hungarian communist leader, executed in 1958 and buried face down in an unmarked grave -- whose honorable reinternment in 1989 drew a quarter of a million Hungarians and foreign dignitaries to Budapest in 1989;
-- Prince Lazar Of Serbia, whose death in the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 was commemorated from 1987 to 1989 with a tour of his remains to monasteries in all the territories Serbs claim as part of their state today;
-- Bishop Inochentie Micu Of Transylvania, who died in Rome in 1768 and whose retur for Transylvanian reburial in 1997 reinvigorated Greek Catholicism, which had been brutally suppressed under communism.

"The Political Lives Of Dead Bodies" presents a dynamic model for approaching politics not merely as a series of statistics but as a fundamental cultural process.

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