Discourse Analysis Of Deviant Burial

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Death is inescapable for all living beings. It is the one commonality all cultures share. It is an equalizer in a world of diversity. Although death itself is absolute, the practices which surround death are varied and complex from culture to culture and individual to individual. As Mike Parker Pearson elaborates:

In the face of the universal fact of death, attitudes to the corpse are various and changeable. These attitudes are formed through the practices of treatment of the dead and are embodied in various ways (Parker Pearson 1999, p. 45).

Archaeologists, however, have the tendency to categorize burial practices as either normal or deviant. This categorization can be misleading as it implies there is a right or wrong way to bury the dead. …show more content…

A discourse analysis is a qualitative research method which attempts to "explain the meaning of social phenomena" (Phillips and Hardy 2002, p. 3) through the examination of a subject and all of its related facets. A discourse analysis is systematic as well as both reflexive and interpretive (Phillips and Hardy 2002, p. 5). As Phillips and Hardy (2002, p. 6) explain, "Discourse analysis...tries to explore how the socially produced ideas and objects that populate the world were created in the first place and how they are maintained and held in place over time." That is the overall goal of this thesis in simple terms, to understand how the concept of deviant burial has been attached to specific types of burial within the field of archaeology, and to determine if the concept still holds any benefit to the …show more content…

I shall gather various types of archaeological publications dealing with deviant burial. It is important to include differing types of publications to see if it affects the way in which deviancy is dealt with. I will then determine if any common patterns are apparent within the study of deviant burial. If common patterns are found, each one will be explored individually. Searching for specific statements within the texts, I will attempt to determine how the patterns relate to the interpretation of deviant burial. As I have not previously dealt with deviant burials, I will also briefly convey my interpretations – as a simulated intended audience reader – of the way in which deviancy is conveyed through the material. This will give a distinctive perspective as to how the true intended audience of the publications may view the evidence as presented by the archaeologists. A discourse analysis is never complete as there are too many aspects to ever fully dissect a subject (Dijk 2001; Phillips and Hardy 2002). However, it is my intent to try to examine deviant burial as thoroughly as this thesis permits, as well as to bring a unique point of view to the

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that death is inescapable for all living beings. it is an equalizer in a world of diversity.
  • Explains that attitudes to the corpse are varied and changeable in the face of the universal fact of death.
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