Ritual Spaces and Burial Places
International Migration and Transnational Change Among the Korturare Roma
The migration of Romanian Korturare is analyzed with a focus on the transformation of three aspects of their funerary practices: place of burial, multi-sited funeral celebrations, and the use of communication technologies. This ‘mortuary focus’, which has not previously been applied to studies of international Romani migration, provides a better understanding of the interaction between territorial attachment and international mobility patterns. Observations based on ethnographic fieldwork are complemented by an analysis of social media use, audiovisual materials and a sample of 69 deaths. Localities of origin continue to be the preferred place for burial and collective memorialization, while funerals become multi-sited, involving both host towns and hometowns. The mediatization of death practices reinforces both of these tendencies. The transformation reflects the role of Korturare social organization in the migration process. The broad and densely nested family networks of the Korturare keep the possibility of multidirectional migration open and act as an adaptive resource by reproducing community life abroad. At the same time, they preserve the localities of origin as the common and privileged territory of the symbolic reproduction of family ties.
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