Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/223941
Title: DEATH AND THE EVERYDAY: CHAOS AND RESTORATION OF ORDER IN THE FAMILY HOUSE
Authors: AU YONG WEN LI CLIFFORD
Keywords: Architecture
Design Track
DT
Master (Architecture)
Tsuto Sakamoto
2014/2015 Aki DT
Chinese
Death
Everyday
Funeral
House
Liminal
Profane
Sacred
Issue Date: 9-Dec-2014
Citation: AU YONG WEN LI CLIFFORD (2014-12-09). DEATH AND THE EVERYDAY: CHAOS AND RESTORATION OF ORDER IN THE FAMILY HOUSE. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Neither the lives of families nor kin are centred on familial deaths and funerals. A death in a traditional Chinese family is always a contingency and creates chaos: the consequent funeral takes place in the familial house in Malaysia, recently rebuilt to accommodate the extended family during the Chinese New Year, but the house is not designed especially for the funeral. Nonetheless, the funeral and the everyday unfold in the house. The familial house becomes the site for the negotiation of personal and social relations amongst the deceased, the bereaved and the village community, in the wake of the loss of a family and social member. Explored through the bodies, dead or alive, that rest or move within and without the house, the house effectuates the production and negotiation of personal, emotional and inter-personal ties amongst the bodies. Death brings chaos; the funeral rituals and the ensuing everyday living in the house negotiate chaos and return emotional and social ‘order’ in the lives of the bereaved. As much as spatial configurations define sacred and profane spaces, the peculiar qualities of bodies and its bodily actions redefine these social and personal spaces. Through participatory observation, interviews, and the analysis of visual footage (photographs and videography), the house is shown to be a palimpsest on which chaos and order is rewritten. As the bereaved cope with the loss and disruption of quotidian life, spaces around the house temporarily perform and function differently from their normal purposes. This liminal quality of the funeral spaces presents itself with the unfolding of the social drama, and proves to be vital to the socio-religious practice of the Chinese funeral.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/223941
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