The Epilogue talks about freedom as a category without which we cannot successfully theorise the social reality. I consider how categories like democracy, freedom, and justice have become ‘compromised categories’ (Hemment 2015: 34) not only in former socialist societies but in social theory as well. And yet, as the ethnographic analysis presented in this book shows, the Latvian politics of waiting, produced by the austerity state, can only be understood if we recognise how this waiting has been offered as a sacrifice for freedom.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book shows the undeniable contribution and the limits of the biopower theory in the understanding of dead bodies en masse. It talks about the fact that criminology has for so long ignored mass crime, even though the link between the corpse and the criminal is one of the fundamentals of the discipline. The book addresses the issue of the practical and symbolic treatment of corpses by societies affected by mass violence. It shows how working ideologies along with historical legacy and geographical landscapes determined the disposal of the bodies. The book examines the simultaneously diplomatic and medicolegal nature of the activities of the French Search Commission for Corpses of Deportees in Germany. It also draws on German archives to describe the various modalities of treatment of corpses in Croatia.