Our times are characterized by increasing interactions, interdependence, and connections between people from different cultural, religious, linguistic, national, ethnic, ... backgrounds, to the point where group identities start to lose the focal point of interest. Today, the concept of super-diversity describes society as in a permanent situation of transition where people need to adapt to a new social and cultural reality. Not all differences are, however, 'equally different' and minorities do not stand on an equal footing with one another or with regard to the realization of rights and the distribution of wealth. The challenge is still to make living together work in a just and dignified way amidst differences and conflicts.
It is at this point that the idea of this book took shape. What if, instead of tackling the issue of living together directly, we approach it by a detour? Death is, perhaps, the most drastic life event in a community. At the same time, however, it is surrounded by taboo and often the subject of denial, especially in Western countries. By recognizing the rites of mourning, and other associated death rituals, we acknowledge, at the same time, the value of life of human beings. Only in that way can we ever hope to truly live together. This book explores that idea.
Joris Van Poucke is a lecturer at HOGENT University of Applied Sciences and Arts, School of Social Welfare and a member of the research center EQUALITY//ResearchCollective. He teaches political philosophy, ethics, and cultural sciences. His research focus areas are (super)diversity, rites of passage and social cohesion.
Eva Vens is a lecturer at HOGENT University of Applied Sciences and Arts, School of Social Welfare and a member of the research center EQUALITY//ResearchCollective. She teaches cultural sciences and anthropology. Eva Vens has been involved in many studies on rites of passages, diversity and has a keen interest in ageing and associated social challenges.
Christian Van Kerckhove is a philosopher with a special interest in philosophical anthropology. His latest publication, together with his wife Els Heyvaert, is Samenleven met de dood. Hoezo? (Garant, 2021).
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