The case of the disorderly graves: contemporary deathscapes in Guangzhou

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The first part of this paper describes three agendas that are shaping contemporary deathscapes in Guangzhou: the modernist planning agenda; the market economy; and the Chinese Communist Party ideology and resistance to it. The second part interprets three significant aspects of these deathscapes: first, the survival of an old tradition (fengshui); second, the appearance of a new spatial practice (storage of ashes in landscaped cemeteries); and, third, the contemporary reinterpretation of the grave as a symbol of individual rather than lineage status. Finally, these deathscapes are analysed as 'deathspace', a symbolic system that represents a stage in an ongoing process of conflict and compromise involving the traditional and the modern, the personal and the political, and the sacred and the secular.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2001

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