Ponowoczesne gry w przestrzeni tanatycznej, czyli o zmianach w kulturze pochówku w Polsce


  • Anna Karnat




funeral rituals, funeral industry, necro-business, commodification of death, a burial


Postmodern games in thanatic space, or changes in the burial culture in Poland: The present article deals with burial culture in Poland and more exactly with its fundamental elements within the context of their permanence and changeability. Beside recourse to the main currents of the discussed publication, the text shows the appearance of new phenomena linked to the formulating anew of the experience of death and its placement within the postmodern landscape, one marked by the high dynamism of processes, fragmentariness, and a dispersal and detachment from traditionalism. Even though burial cultural in Poland is still extremely strongly marked by tradition and is characterised by a significant stability (the permanence of models and schemes), it is possible to notice within it new phenomena that may be directly linked to consumer culture and the global popularisation of these models. Tendencies to search for new forms of rites and the creation of new rituals, which through their nature will correspond to the postmodern experience of death, are becoming stronger. On the one hand, this may point to an overcoming of the experience of a confrontation with death, while on the other, it constitutes an expression of contemporary games in a space designated by Thanatos. One may state that following the emotional neutrality that was characteristic for the objective and rationalised social relations within modernity, postmodernity liberates new possibilities of expression connected with the act of saying one’s farewells to a dead person. These may be original and unique at times, other times merely copied and applied as the set models and schemes of the funeral industry. As a consequence the symbolic sphere and some of the rituals accompanying burial allows for the staging of an individual, objective and original burial act on the one hand, while on the other, for a succumbing to commercialisation and entrance into the on-going process of funeral service market-focusing, and of a more economical orientation towards death.