Necropolis. Sociological Study of the Cemeteries of Katowice Cover Image
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Nekropolie. Socjologiczne studium cmentarzy Katowic
Necropolis. Sociological Study of the Cemeteries of Katowice

Author(s): Barbara Lewicka
Subject(s): Social Sciences, Sociology, Rural and urban sociology, Sociology of Culture, Environmental interactions, Social Norms / Social Control
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Keywords: cemetery; necropolis; urban space; memorial place; significant place; Katowice
Summary/Abstract: The book entitled Necropolis. Sociological Study of the Cemeteries of Katowice, is an attempt to description of the burial spaces on the example of one city. Cemeteries shall be treated as a cultural text, reproduced in various forms of social practices. Reading this cultural text allows to reconstruct contemporary roles and significance of urban cemeteries, and describe construction of the graveyards and show typical activities undertaken in their spaces.The opening chapter clarifies the social history of the funeral spaces of Europe described terms of in four stages of development. The further part is devoted to necropolis of the particular city – Katowice. The author makes a description of the form, shape and infrastructure of cemeteries and reminds history of the city. Another part of the work is a theoretical debate on urban issues, including emphasis on urban sociology. The continuum: space – the city – a place – non-place is explained, as well as the functional division of urban space. Than graveyards are described in terms of various sciences. In this part of the book preliminary analysis of research on functions of Katowice burial spaces are related. A consequence of above is construction of the typology of modern graveyards functions in sociological terms. The rest of the book is devoted to the analysis and interpretation of results of empirical studies (combining both quantitative and qualitative research methods) carriedout in Katowice. It begins with description of burial spaces treated as separated areas of the city; the second aspect of the analysis is a description of cemeteries’ structure; another is focused on the functioning of graveyards; the last one specifies the meaning of the cemeteries for the residents of the city.This approach allows to recreate multi-faceted image of urban cemeteries. Firstly, image of necropolis with permanent and temporary components of the visual universe is analyzed. Secondly, events that took place within the cemeteries and practices associated with visiting the graveyards are described, as well as the way of functioning of cemeteries – their daily, monthly and yearly rhythm. Thirdly, answer to the question about the meaning and place of burial spaces in the minds of Katowice residents is given.Among the most important conclusions of work it should be noted that the residents of Katowice believe that burial places have important socio-cultural role. Cemeteries are described as important, meaningful and long-lasting spaces; areas of interaction and symbolic exchange. It is because, among other things: the universality of visits to cemeteries, what is associated with their rhythm of functioning; a multitude of activities undertaken in cemeteries (not only those related to its first roles); an affection to the image of tombstones; awareness that cemeteries are not only a places of remembrance for everyone who buried their relatives there, but also for the city, region or even the country; the conviction that cemeteries should be show the youngest, to familiarize them with the historical heritage and create a kind ofsymbolic attachment with the ancestors.

  • E-ISBN-13: 978-83-8012-961-0
  • Print-ISBN-13: 978-83-8012-960-3
  • Page Count: 324
  • Publication Year: 2017
  • Language: Polish