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Theoretical approaches
Finn Stepputat

feeling of fear by different means, ensuring that it emerges only in particular ruptures and chocks Governing the dead? Theoretical approaches 13 such as those provoked by the encounter with dead bodies. Looking into this encounter and borrowing Bataille’s concept of ‘the abject’, Kristeva (1982) characterises the corpse as the paradigmatic form of the abject, understood as something nauseating and repulsing that causes us to turn away, and from which we seek to distance ourselves: ‘The corpse, seen without God and outside of science, is the utmost of abjection. It

in Governing the dead
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Pollution, contamination and the neglected dead in post-war Saigon
Christophe Robert

. What is perhaps most shocking, as in the cases Lam describes, is the spectre of abandonment of the dead and the abject callousness of the living toward the anonymous dead. Identifying the dead: names and images of the deceased In the far northern reaches of the cemeteries, along dusty roadsides, vines blanket graves in layers of bright green. Vines are reminders of oblivion, slowly advancing waves of forgetting and abandonment. The graves are not all subjected to this in the same way: in some plots, graves are better kept and locked in metal cages to protect them

in Governing the dead
Yehonatan Alsheh

explanation has its limitations of course – it is not entirely clear how Kristeva evades falling into the naturalistic assumption that all this somehow applies to all people at all times and in all cultures. However, it can be interpreted as dealing with the dynamic of real interactions that precede the emergence of a thinking subject and thought-of objects (before the successful exclusion of the abject) and what may still happen after the collapse (the failure of the exclusion) of the correlation between the subject and the object. Moreover, Kristeva’s theory of abjection

in Human remains and mass violence
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Corpse-work in the prehistory of political boundaries
Richard Kernaghan

words, putrefaction enables corpses to ‘act’ though not as subjects with agency, but as the abject that disturbs the relational borders upon which subjectivity presumably depends. Of course, this is not to exclude the possibility that death may be simply a transition or to ignore that with the loss of life many other kinds of non-human life spring into action. Strictly speaking, what transitions or springs is rarely if ever treated as a mere continuation of the life that was. Precisely because corpses indicate and place visceral accents upon boundaries to the human

in Governing the dead