Open Access (free)
The handling of the deceased during the COVID-19 pandemic, a case study in France and Switzerland
Gaëlle Clavandier, Marc-Antoine Berthod, Philippe Charrier, Martin Julier-Costes, and Veronica Pagnamenta

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about an unprecedented global crisis. To limit the spread of the virus and the associated excess mortality, states and governing bodies have produced a series of regulations and recommendations from a health perspective. The funerary aspects of these directives have reconfigured not only the ways in which the process of dying can be accompanied, but also the management of dead bodies, impacting on the dying, their relatives and professionals in the sector. Since March 2020, the entire process of separation and farewell has been affected, giving rise to public debates about funeral restrictions and the implications for mourning. We carried out a study in France and Switzerland to measure the effects of this crisis, and in particular to explore whether it has involved a shift from a funerary approach to a strictly mortuary one. Have the practices that would normally be observed in non-pandemic times been irrevocably altered? Does this extend to all deaths? Has there been a switch to an exclusively technical handling? Are burial practices still respected? The results of the present study pertain to the ‘first wave’ of spring 2020 and focus on the practices of professionals working in the funeral sector.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
Face to face with the past
Author: Melanie Giles

The ‘bog bodies’ of north-western Europe have captured the imagination of poets as much as archaeologists, confronting us with human remains where time has stopped – allowing us to come ‘face to face’ with individuals from the past. Their exceptional preservation allows us to examine unprecedented details of both their lives and deaths, making us reflect poignantly upon our own mortality. Yet this book argues that they must be resituated within a turbulent world of endemic violence and change, reinterpreting the latest Continental research and new discoveries in this light. The book features a ground-breaking ‘cold case’ forensic study of Worsley Man: Manchester Museum’s ‘bog head’ and brings the bogs to life through both natural history and folklore, as places that were rich, fertile, yet dangerous. Finally, it argues that these remains do not just pose practical conservation problems but philosophical dilemmas, compounded by the critical debate on if – and how – they should be displayed, with museum exemplars drawn from across the globe

Open Access (free)
The French search mission for the corpses of deportees in Germany, 1946–58
Jean-Marc Dreyfus

6 Renationalizing bodies? The French search mission for the corpses of deportees in Germany, 1946–58 1 Jean-Marc Dreyfus Introduction Corpses are not a research subject that a historian would normally choose, and less still corpses en masse. Whether approaches to mass violence are of political, social or cultural history, the ­historical analysis of societies tends to focus on the living, and corpses are discussed only in terms of a social group’s structure in relation to death, the social definition of which can be addressed only through a detailed cultural

in Human remains and mass violence
Open Access (free)
Pandemic and management of dead bodies in Brazil
Liliana Sanjurjo, Desirée Azevedo, and Larissa Nadai

This article analyses the management of bodies in Brazil within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its objective is to examine how the confluence of underreporting, inequality and alterations in the forms of classifying and managing bodies has produced a political practice that aims at the mass infection of the living and the quick disposal of the dead. We first present the factors involved in the process of underreporting of the disease and its effects on state registration and regulation of bodies. Our analysis then turns to the cemetery to problematise the dynamics through which inequality and racism are re-actualised and become central aspects of the management of the pandemic in Brazil. We will focus not only on the policies of managing bodies adopted during the pandemic but also on those associated with other historical periods, examining continuities and ruptures, as well as their relationship to long-term processes.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Keith Krause

In discussions of conflict, war and political violence, dead bodies count. Although the politics and practices associated with the collection of violent-death data are seldom subject to critical examination, they are crucial to how scholars and practitioners think about how and why conflict and violence erupt. Knowledge about conflict deaths – the who, what, where, when, why and how – is a form of expertise, created, disseminated and used by different agents. This article highlights the ways in which body counts are deployed as social facts and forms of knowledge that are used to shape and influence policies and practices associated with armed conflict. It traces the way in which conflict-death data emerged, and then examines critically some of the practices and assumptions of data collection to shed light on how claims to expertise are enacted and on how the public arena connects (or not) with scholarly conflict expertise.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Jose Manuel Varas Insunza

This article describes the operational practices of the city morgue in Santiago, Chile and their effects on the family members who come to claim the bodies of their loved ones. It explores the impact of the body‘s passage through the morgue on the observance of rituals surrounding death and mourning. An underlying conflict can be identified between the states partial appropriation of and interference with the body and intrinsic needs associated with the performance of funeral rites in accordance with cultural and religious precepts.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
Victim, witness and evidence of mass violence
Caroline Fournet

3 The human body: victim, witness and evidence of mass violence1 Caroline Fournet Introduction In the context of international criminal law and case law, the fact that the individual, as a human being, is the target of criminals against humanity and génocidaires alike is a legal reality that raises no doubt or controversy.2 The definition of a crime against humanity protects ‘any civilian population’,3 while that of genocide refers to the victim ‘group’.4 Further, both definitions protect the physical and moral integrity of the individual – although the text of

in Human remains and mass violence
One Billion Rising, dance and gendered violence
Dana Mills

83 5 Dancing the ruptured body: One Billion Rising, dance and gendered violence I move the reader–​spectator to view the performance of a protest movement that calls on us to end violence against women through the power of dance. One Billion Rising, initiated by feminist author and activist Eve Ensler, calls for a global uprising on Valentine’s Day, utilising dance to protest against gendered violence. The impact of the movement has been far-​reaching and its scope ambitious. The site of the movement is the moving body upon which gendered violence is inscribed

in Dance and politics