The revival of the funeral industry in Shanghai: a model for China


Aveline-Dubach, N. (2012). The Revival of the funeral industry in Shanghai: a model for China. In N. Aveline-Dubach (Ed.). Invisible population—The place of the dead in East Asian megacities (pp.74-97). Langham: Lexington Books.

A cosmopolitan megacity that stands apart from China’s political and cultural centres, Shanghai was formerly the heart of a highly dynamic funeral industry. Following a fifty-year interlude under the Maoist regime, the city is now seeking to revive this pioneering tradition. Although death is no more visible here than in China’s other major cities, for the past twenty or so years Shanghai has endeavoured to compromise with market forces in order to create a new funeral culture reflecting the ambitions of a new Chinese modernity and destined to serve as a model for the country. More than any other, the funeral industry that has emerged in Shanghai bears the traces of China’s turbulent evolution over the past two centuries. This chapter will trace the main stages of the industry’s history by placing it within the context of the major political, economic and social challenges of each period.

Article available on-line at HAL.

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

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