"Our soul is just an urn where we close, once and for all, the ashes of our lost passions !"

miercuri, 2 septembrie 2009

My abstract for DDD9, Durham, UK, 9-12 of September 2009

Death and Cremation in Communist Romania

This paper aims to analyze the place of the cremation into the death system of communist Romania, bringing into the light its specificities on comparison with the previous epoch. The instauration of communist power in Romania in 1947 meant an attempting to apply a vast project of the society reconstruction. Inside of this project leaded by the communists the patterns of “new man” produced new euphemisms and a new taboo around death event, having an ideological support: death was considered a reflex of life – a simple life dedicated to the proletarian aims. During that time it appeared different nuances of this pattern due to the implementation of the atheist model at the societal level (1970-1989).
As regards the cremation, this practice knew some continuity and several discontinuities during the period. Therefore, cremation continued to be at the same level as inhumation from the legal pointview (Romanian Penal Code, 1955). On the other hand, cremation knew mutations as practice due to the preference of some Romanian communist leadership for it (Iosif Ranghet, Lothar Radaceanu, and so on). Their preference for cremation tried to be a pattern of communist way of life and death. But this situation was incapable to generate a larger pattern in Romania. I could affirm the Romanian communist power did not intend to implement as practice the cremation from all the country and I try to explain this situation from many perspectives:
1. the possibility to build and use new crematories in communist Romania;
2. the “original” relation between communist political power and Romanian Orthodox Church which strongly rejected the cremation.
Such situation caused the existence of a single crematory in Romania, during the communist period.
Also, the present paper brings into the light one of the dark side of the Romanian communist regime which used the evil politics of cremation for deleting the trails of its violent repression during the events of 17th -22nd of December 1989.
PS. Informations about this event can be found on http://www.dur.ac.uk/cdals/ddd9conference/

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