Capítulo de libro
Dances of Death in Latin America: Holy, Adopted and Patrimonialized Dead
“Dances of Death in Latin America: Holy, Adopted and Patrimonialized Dead”, In La Santa Muerte in Mexico: History, Devotion, and Society ( Wil G. Panster, editor).
The following pages present an ethnographic exploration of some imaginaries in Latin American societies where Death is a protagonist, a meaningful agency that appears in relation to emerging figures and cults that strive to incarnate her as their property and patrimony. Based on La Santa Muerte in Mexico, I discuss, compare and contrast similarities and differences with processes of the cultural patrimonialization of Death in other American societies; including the construction of “miraculous dead” –or popular saints– in cemeteries, and the selection and “adoption” of “anonymous dead”, victims of violence in Colombia. In areas of Latin America affected by the irradiations of neoliberalism and violence, these emerging cults connect with the experience of followers who are desperate to retake control of their lives in precarious conditions of social vulnerability, abandoned by state institutions and official structures.