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Department of Anthropology

Academic Staff

Publication details for Dr Trudi Buck

Buck, T. J. & Pipyrou, S. (2014). You can die but once? Creativity, narrative and epistemology in Western death. Mortality 19(3): 261-283.

Author(s) from Durham


Employing two case studies from different spheres of anthropological practice, we argue that a narrative approach provides productive analytical ground for the study of Western death. It has been argued that narratives are attempts to create a presence to what is absent and truth to what is imagined and forgotten. Inverting this thesis, in this paper, we investigate how narratives can create absence where there is presence and ignite imagination and speculation where there is truth. Arguing that death ‘invites a story’, we examine cases which are as much about creative orchestration of human ingenuity as of meaningful accounts of epistemological meta-language.