Rural death: the rural as a liminal space of dying and remembrance


Alex Franklin, Centre for Agroecology, Water & Resilience (CAWR), Coventry University, UK

Nora Schuurman, University of Eastern Finland, Finland.

Adrian Evans, Centre for Agroecology, Water & Resilience (CAWR), Coventry University, UK



Death has been characterised as being both an everyday and an extraordinary experience, carrying specific meanings and including practices that are situated in particular spaces (Maddrell and Sidaway 2010). The actual moment of death has been conceptualised as a liminal state of betweenness (Van Gennep 1909). Different situated understandings and norms shape the processes of killing, dying, euthanasia and remembrance, including in the form of death rituals. These rituals not only cover the cultures of human death but are increasingly extended to experiences of non-human animal death. On occasion associated death practices take place in discrete socio-cultural spaces (e.g. palliative human care homes, veterinary clinics, agricultural slaughterhouses). At other times, they are far more public (e.g. natural burial grounds, war memorials, fishing competitions). Accordingly, this working group explores different aspects of death in both humans and non-humans. It focuses on the shared practices, spaces, knowledges and cultural conceptions of death, dying and remembrance in rural settings.

We invite submissions from a range of different disciplines, in the context of (but not limited to):

  • Cremation, burials, symbols of remembrance
  • Culling, killing, slaughtering, pest control, road kill
  • Euthanasia - humans; non-human animals
  • Veterinary and human medicine; practices of palliative care
  • Hunting, fishing, shooting, poaching
  • Fear, pain, suffering, violence in the context of killing and dying
  • Death beyond humans and animals (plants, rivers, ecologies etc.)


Please send an abstract to Alex Franklin. As part of your submission please also state your preferred format of ‘presenting’ (e.g. standard ppt., poster, panel, interactive workshop etc.) and any associated equipment/ space requirements. In accordance with the aims of the conference organising committee, we welcome a multi-format approach across the working group. Although individual contributors will each be limited to 15 minutes, where possible we will look to accommodate all requests received for the use of different presentation formats.


Maddrell, A. and Sidaway, J. D. 2010. Introduction: Bringing a spatial lense to death, dying, mourning and remembrance. In Maddrell, A. and Sidaway, J. D. (eds): Deathscapes: spaces for death, dying, mourning and remembrance. Ashgate, Farnham, 1–16.

Van Gennep, A. 1909 [1960]. The Rites of Passage. Routledge, London (reprinted 2004)