Based on fieldwork undertaken in the Highlands of Madagascar, this paper analyses the growing local anxieties over the alleged theft of ancestors’ bones from family tombs. It argues that discourses about the theft of ancestors’ bones emerge as moral and political commentaries on the impact of the neoliberal, predatory capitalism that is increasingly devouring country’s resources, and as a good entry point for the analysis of local conflicts along different axes of social differentiation. The coexistence of the invisibility of these immoral economies and their great mediatic, material and discursive visibility helps to establish the stealing of ancestors’ bones as an arena of accusations between groups and individuals at a local level. At the same time, the alleged commodification of human bones is giving new symbolic and political values to family tombs and the remains of the ancestors

The Theft of the ‘White Sapphire’. Ancestors’ Bones, Violated Tombs, and the (In)Visibility of Immoral Economies in Madagascar

Gardini, M
2020

Abstract

Based on fieldwork undertaken in the Highlands of Madagascar, this paper analyses the growing local anxieties over the alleged theft of ancestors’ bones from family tombs. It argues that discourses about the theft of ancestors’ bones emerge as moral and political commentaries on the impact of the neoliberal, predatory capitalism that is increasingly devouring country’s resources, and as a good entry point for the analysis of local conflicts along different axes of social differentiation. The coexistence of the invisibility of these immoral economies and their great mediatic, material and discursive visibility helps to establish the stealing of ancestors’ bones as an arena of accusations between groups and individuals at a local level. At the same time, the alleged commodification of human bones is giving new symbolic and political values to family tombs and the remains of the ancestors
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11571/1346840
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