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Death of the Father: An Anthropology of the End in Political Authority

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Death of the Father

An Anthropology of the End in Political Authority

Edited by John Borneman

256 pages, index

ISBN  978-1-57181-111-0 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (December 2003)

ISBN  978-1-57181-389-3 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (December 2004)

eISBN 978-0-85745-715-8 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


The death of authority figures like fathers or leaders can be experienced as either liberation or loss. In the twentieth century, the authority of the father and of the leader became closely intertwined; constraints and affective attachments intensified in ways that had major effects on the organization of regimes of authority. This comparative volume examines the resulting crisis in symbolic identification, the national traumas that had crystallized around four state political forms: Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and East European Communism. The defeat of Imperial and Fascist regimes in 1945 and the implosion of Communist regimes in 1989 were critical moments of rupture, of "death of the father." What was the experience of their ends, and what is the reconstruction of those ends in memory?

This volume represents is the beginning of a comparative social anthropology of caesurae: the end of traumatic political regimes, of their symbolic forms, political consequences, and probable futures.

John Borneman, Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University, specializes in political and legal anthropology. He has written widely on national identification and symbolic form in Germany and on the relation of culture to international order. His most recent work is on accountability and the use of retributive justice in preventing cycles of violence.

For more information on John Borneman, you can also visit the author's website.

Subject: Anthropology (General) History: 20th Century to Present Memory Studies
Area: Europe



Introduction: Theorizing Regime Ends
John Borneman

Chapter 1. From Future to Past: A Duce’s Trajectory
Maria Pia Di Bella

Chapter 2. Gottvater, Landesvater, Familienvater: Identification and Authority in Germany
John Borneman

Chapter 3. Two Deaths of Hirohito in Japan
Kyung-Koo Han

Chapter 4. The Undead: Nicolae Ceaus¸escu and Paternalist Politics in Romanian Society and Culture
David A. Kideckel

Chapter 5. The Peaceful Death of Tito and the Violent End of Yugoslavia
Tone Bringa

Chapter 6. Doubtful Dead Fathers and Musical Corpses: What to Do with the Dead Stalin, Lenin, and Tsar Nicholas?
John S. Schoeberlein

Notes on Contributors to the Death of the Father Project

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