Andrew B. KipnisNov 9, 2021
The Funeral of Mr. Wang
Life, Death, and Ghosts in Urbanizing China
University of California Press 2021
Today I spoke to Professor Andrew Kipnis about his book on social change in urban China from the perspective of funerals. In rural China funerals are conducted locally, on village land by village elders. But in urban areas, people have neither land for burials nor elder relatives to conduct funerals. Chinese urbanization, which has increased drastically in recent decades, involves the creation of cemeteries, state-run funeral homes, and small private funerary businesses. The Funeral of Mr. Wang: Life, Death, and Ghosts in Urbanizing China (U California Press, 2021) examines social change in urbanizing China through the lens of funerals, the funerary industry, and practices of memorialization. It analyzes changes in family life, patterns of urban sociality, transformations in economic relations, the politics of memorialization, and the echoes of these changes in beliefs about the dead and ghosts.
Dr. Suvi Rautio is an anthropologist of China.