Analysing allerzielen alom

Material culture in an emerging rite

William R. Arfman | 2011

Analysing allerzielen alom

Material culture in an emerging rite

William R. Arfman | 2011

ISBN: 9789088900617

Imprint: Sidestone Press | Format: 182x257mm | 78 pp. | MPhil Thesis, Leiden University, the Netherlands | Language: English | 3 illus. (bw) | 13 illus. (fc) | Category: religion studies, anthropology, ritual | download cover

Since 2005 Dutch artists Ida van der Lee’s Allerzielen Alom (or All Souls’ All around) project, as well as its various offshoots, have flowered throughout the Netherlands. In doing so they have brought a diverse public of various ages and religious as well as non-religious backgrounds together at the end of October or the beginning of November at hospitably decorated cemeteries and crematoria. Here, after dusk, these visitors were given various chances to commemorate their dearly departed using everyday objects to perform small ritual acts. Afterwards, strong feelings of togetherness were expressed, both with the other visitors as well as the deceased.

Judging by the standards of the secularisation hypothesis the success of this project would seem highly unlikely. The expressed feelings of being together with the dead in such public spaces, by congregations ranging into the thousands goes against its claims regarding the growing individualisation, privatisation and disenchantment of our Western world. What then, is behind the success of this phenomenon?

This book is taking a grassroots approach to answering that and related questions: by combining concepts from the field of rituals studies with those from the field of material culture studies, it will focus on the roll of simple objects in the development as well as the success of Allerzielen Alom and its various offshoots. To achieve this, five different Allerzielen Alom or related celebrations were visited and their organisers interviewed. On the basis of that material an interesting image is formed of the fundamental importance of material culture in the development of a new emerging ritual tradition.

Dr. William R. Arfman

Doing interdisciplinary research is my passion and I therefore consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to follow a Research Master in Archaeology/Anthropology of Mesoamerica and a Master in Comparative Religion as well as having worked at the highly interdisciplinary Centre for Thanatology of the Radboud University.

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Abstract:

Since 2005 Dutch artists Ida van der Lee’s Allerzielen Alom (or All Souls’ All around) project, as well as its various offshoots, have flowered throughout the Netherlands. In doing so they have brought a diverse public of various ages and religious as well as non-religious backgrounds together at the end of October or the beginning of November at hospitably decorated cemeteries and crematoria. Here, after dusk, these visitors were given various chances to commemorate their dearly departed using everyday objects to perform small ritual acts. Afterwards, strong feelings of togetherness were expressed, both with the other visitors as well as the deceased.

Judging by the standards of the secularisation hypothesis the success of this project would seem highly unlikely. The expressed feelings of being together with the dead in such public spaces, by congregations ranging into the thousands goes against its claims regarding the growing individualisation, privatisation and disenchantment of our Western world. What then, is behind the success of this phenomenon?

This book is taking a grassroots approach to answering that and related questions: by combining concepts from the field of rituals studies with those from the field of material culture studies, it will focus on the roll of simple objects in the development as well as the success of Allerzielen Alom and its various offshoots. To achieve this, five different Allerzielen Alom or related celebrations were visited and their organisers interviewed. On the basis of that material an interesting image is formed of the fundamental importance of material culture in the development of a new emerging ritual tradition.

Dr. William R. Arfman

Doing interdisciplinary research is my passion and I therefore consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to follow a Research Master in Archaeology/Anthropology of Mesoamerica and a Master in Comparative Religion as well as having worked at the highly interdisciplinary Centre for Thanatology of the Radboud University.

read more









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