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Grassroots Memorials: The Politics of Memorializing Traumatic Death

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Volume 12

Remapping Cultural History

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Grassroots Memorials

The Politics of Memorializing Traumatic Death

Edited by Peter Jan Margry and Cristina Sánchez-Carretero

386 pages, 40 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-189-7 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (August 2011)

eISBN 978-0-85745-190-3 eBook

Hb   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“It is evident that the editors have gone to some considerable effort to assemble a rich, diverse ethnographic treasure-trove, and to anticipate any charges of Eurocentrism by also drawing on examples of makeshift memorials from other parts of the world. Meanwhile, the thoughtful reflexivity demonstrated by several of the contributors vis-à-vis their own emotional and epistemological locations within the case studies is refreshing and praiseworthy.” · Folklore


Grassroots memorials have become major areas of focus during times of trauma, danger, and social unrest. These improvised memorial assemblages continue to display new and more dynamic ways of representing collective and individual identities and in doing so reveal the steps that shape the national memories of those who struggle to come to terms with traumatic loss. This volume focuses on the hybrid quality of these temporary memorials as both monuments of mourning and as focal points for protest and expression of discontent. The broad range of case studies in this volume include anti-mafia shrines, Theo van Gogh’s memorial, September 11th memorials, March 11th shrines in Madrid, and Carlo Giuliani memorials in Genoa.

Peter Jan Margry is an ethnologist and a senior research fellow at the Meertens Institute, at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam. He is guest professor of Religious Studies at the University of Leuven. His work focuses on contemporary religious cultures, rituals, and cultural memory. He has published many books and articles in these fields, among them a four-volume standard work on the pilgrimage culture in the Netherlands.

Cristina Sánchez-Carretero is an anthropologist and a staff researcher at The Institute of Heritage Sciences (Incipit) of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and holds a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on the role of heritage formation processes in contemporary societies. Currently, she is the coordinator of the CSIC team that participates in the Cultural Heritage and the Reconstruction of Identities after Conflict project, funded by the EU Seventh Framework Program.

Subject: General Cultural Studies Peace & Conflict Studies Urban Studies


List of Illustrations

Introduction: Rethinking Memorialization: The Concept of Grassroots Memorials
Peter Jan Margry and Cristina Sánchez-Carretero


Chapter 1. “Difficult Remembrance”: Memorializing Mafi a Victims in Palermo
Deborah Puccio-Den

Chapter 2. Ritual Mediations of Violent Death: An Ethnography of the Theo van Gogh Memorial Site, Amsterdam
Irene Stengs

Chapter 3. Between Commemoration and Social Activism: Spontaneous Shrines, Grassroots Memorialization, and the Public Ritualesque in Derry
Jack Santino

Chapter 4. Memorializing Shooters with Their Victims: Columbine, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University
Sylvia Grider


Chapter 5. Marking Death: Grief, Protest, and Politics after a Fatal Traffic Accident
Monika Rulfs

Chapter 6. Ghost Bikes: Memorialization and Protest on City Streets
Robert Thomas Dobler

Chapter 7. Mourning the Polish Pope in Polish Cities
Ewa Klekot

Chapter 8. Remembering La Tragedia: Commemorations of the 1999 Floods in Venezuela 208
Sandrine Revet


Chapter 9. Street Shrines and the Writing of Disaster: 9/11, New York, 2001
Béatrice Fraenkel

Chapter 10. The Madrid Train Bombings: Enacting the Emotional Body at the March 11 Grassroots Memorials
Cristina Sánchez-Carretero

Chapter 11. Purification and Remembrance: Eastern and Western Ways of Dealing with the Bali Bombing
Huub de Jonge


Chapter 12. September 11: Museums, Spontaneous Memorials, and History
James B. Gardner

Chapter 13. Piazza Carlo Giuliani - G8 Summit, Genoa 2001: Death, Testimony, Memory
Fabio Caffarena and Carlo Stiaccini

Chapter 14. Memorializing a Controversial Politician: The "Heritagization" of a Materialized Vox Populi
Peter Jan Margry

Notes on Contributors

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