Circulating Spirits and Dead Bodies

Funerary Transnationalism among Immigrants from Guinea Bissau in Portugal

in African Diaspora
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Death is the ultimate rite of passage, one that no one can avoid, with multiple implications for the life of the individuals and of the groups within which they move. Throughout this article, I intend to show how death is a good metaphor to think about the production of places and spaces of belonging in transnational contexts, and how circulation is the key term to understand how such transnational trends are produced. I argue that in a transnational setting – in this case of Guinean migrants in Portugal – death functions as a true regeneration source as it shapes the continuity of the relationship between the migrant and the place of origin. The circulation of dead bodies, symbolic universes, spiritual healers and spirits re-shape the ties between the world of the living and the world of the dead across continents and oceans.

Circulating Spirits and Dead Bodies

Funerary Transnationalism among Immigrants from Guinea Bissau in Portugal

in African Diaspora

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See amongst many Gable (2006) for the Guinean case on how the youngsters use funerals to mark their social position in the home communities; De Boeck’s piece (2008) concerning cemeteries in Kinshasa and the role of young people in the funerals; and Ho (2006) for the importance of the Hadrami graves in the case of the Yemeni diaspora in the Indian Ocean.

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