Humphrey, Caroline. Rituals of death as a context for understanding personal property in socialist Mongolia

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Publication Information

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Publication Information The main body of the Publication Information page contains all the metadata that HRAF holds for that document.

Author: Author's name as listed in Library of Congress records

Title: Rituals of death as a context for understanding personal property in socialist Mongolia

Published in: if part or section of a book or monograph The journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute -- Vol. 8, no. 1

Published By: Original publisher The journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute -- Vol. 8, no. 1 London: The Institute. 2002. 65-87 p.

By line: Author's name as appearing in the actual publication Caroline Humphrey

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 2006. Computer File

Culture: Culture name from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC) with the alphanumberic OWC identifier in parenthesis. Mongolia (AH01)

Subjects: Document-level OCM identifiers given by the anthropology subject indexers at HRAF Property in movables (422); Burial practices and funerals (764); Ideas about nature and people (820);

Abstract: Brief abstract written by HRAF anthropologists who have done the subject indexing for the document Humphrey explores Mongolian ideas about personal property and personhood by examining what happens to the deceased's possessions at funerals. Humphrey distinguishes between two kinds of personal property, valuables and what she calls, 'refuge things.' All valuables are given away when a person is dying as part of their final detachment from the world. However, 'refuge things,' which are most closely identified with the dying person, must be destroyed or buried with the corpse, because the dying person's soul is thought to remain attached to such objects. An excising ritual can also be performed to separate the soul from the object, if it is to be given away to somebody. The identification of persons with particular things persisted under socialism. Humphrey discusses the different notions of personhood based on beliefs in reincarnation and cosmology. She then describes the funeral rite in more detail. In her conclusion, she argues for a more complex way to imagine person-object relations than the simplified Western notions of 'private' and 'collective' property. The personalization of property is not simply an expression of ownership, but an extension of the self, including all its complex relations to the world, others, and personal experience.

Document Number: HRAF's in-house numbering system derived from the processing order of documents 23

Document ID: HRAF's unique document identifier. The first part is the OWC identifier and the second part is the document number in three digits. ah01-023

Document Type: May include journal articles, essays, collections of essays, monographs or chapters/parts of monographs. Journal Article

Language: Language that the document is written in English

Note: Includes bibliographical references (p. 86-87)

Field Date: The date the researcher conducted the fieldwork or archival research that produced the document 1980

Evaluation: In this alphanumeric code, the first part designates the type of person writing the document, e.g. Ethnographer, Missionary, Archaeologist, Folklorist, Linguist, Indigene, and so on. The second part is a ranking done by HRAF anthropologists based on the strength of the source material on a scale of 1 to 5, as follows: 1 - poor; 2 - fair; 3 - good, useful data, but not uniformly excellent; 4 - excellent secondary data; 5 - excellent primary data Ethnologist-4, 5

Analyst: The HRAF anthropologist who subject indexed the document and prepared other materials for the eHRAF culture/tradition collection. Ian Skoggard ; 2005

Coverage Date: The date or dates that the information in the document pertains to (often not the same as the field date). 1980-1989

Coverage Place: Location of the research culture or tradition (often a smaller unit such as a band, community, or archaeological site) Ulaanbaatar and environs, Mongolia

LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings Mongolia


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