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Title: Over their dead bodies : a study of leisure and spatiality in cemeteries
Author: Deering, Annabel
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 4541
Awarding Body: University of Brighton
Current Institution: University of Brighton
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis offers a critical exploration of the leisure uses of cemeteries and the relationship between people and places in burial grounds. It interrogates the concepts of heterotopia, purple recreation, enchantment and dark tourism and uses the graveyard to extend their descriptive and analytic utility. Extant cemetery research focuses overwhelmingly on their historical role and the relationships between mourners and the grave, with only passing reference to recreational uses. Using the techniques of heuristic inquiry the study considers the cemetery as a greenspace for leisure by exploring the ways in which both researcher and participants perceive, experience and use these 'dead' spaces. Data was gathered from twenty-two semi-structured interviews and conversations with thirty participants and through 550 hours of participant observation. This was complemented by data collected from both site erosion and material trace accretion, for example, paths worn in the grass, smoothed tree branches, litter and graffiti. The application of garbology, or the study of rubbish and other material traces, to a cemetery site augments current practice in heuristic inquiry methodology, building on techniques developed in a variety of other settings. This thesis also enhances current knowledge of people-place bonds, socio-spatial theory and temporality. It scrutinises the conflation of different species of time in the graveyard and the impact this has on sense of place. Conceptual contributions are made by linking deathscapes with the three emergent themes of purple recreation, enchantment and dark tourism. Woven through these three themes is the concept of heterotopia which is critically examined with reference to cemeteries and the distinctive people-place bond formed between these sites and their recreational visitors. This thesis concludes that cemeteries offer a unique space for leisure and argues that the sense of place experienced in the cemetery engages the visitor in deep and meaningful ways that have previously been underestimated.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: L000 Social Sciences