Understanding Mortality and the Life of the Ancestors in Rural Madagascar

@article{Astuti2008UnderstandingMA,
  title={Understanding Mortality and the Life of the Ancestors in Rural Madagascar},
  author={Rita Astuti and Paul L. Harris},
  journal={Cognitive science},
  year={2008},
  volume={32 4},
  pages={
          713-40
        }
}
Across two studies, a wide age range of participants was interviewed about the nature of death. All participants were living in rural Madagascar in a community where ancestral beliefs and practices are widespread. In Study 1, children (8-17 years) and adults (19-71 years) were asked whether bodily and mental processes continue after death. The death in question was presented in the context of a narrative that focused either on the corpse or on the ancestral practices associated with the… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

Death, ancestors and the living dead: learning without teaching in Madagascar

At the time of my last period of fieldwork in Madagascar,1 Brika was seventeen. I had invited him to my house to participate in the study I was conducting about death and the ancestors (cf. Harris,

Ancestors and the afterlife

The purpose of this paper analyze beliefs in afterlife among the Vezo of Madagascar. This analysis purpots to be an empirical investigation by means of a combination of ethnography and the

The coexistence of natural and supernatural explanations within and across domains and development

Examination of explanatory coexistence within and across domains of existential concern in individuals in Tanna, Vanuatu shows that coexistence reasoning in these domains is pervasive across cultures, yet at the same time it is deeply contextually specific, reflecting the nuanced differences in local ecologies and cultural beliefs.

Children's understanding of death: from biology to religion

  • P. Harris
  • Psychology
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2018
Linguistic and developmental evidence for claims that the deceased has an afterlife elsewhere is reviewed, and possible biological origins and implications for archaeological research are discussed.

Does the Body Survive Death? Cultural Variation in Beliefs About Life Everlasting.

Comparisons about the continuation of biological and psychological functions after death in Tanna, Vanuatu, and the United States provide evidence for both cultural similarity and variability in afterlife beliefs and demonstrate that individuals use both natural and supernatural explanations to interpret the same events.

An exploration of afterlife beliefs in religiously-and secularly-oriented adults

ABSTRACT One of the ways that religion helps individuals to find meaning and purpose in life is through the enrichment of the concept of an afterlife. Afterlife beliefs are more likely to be held by

British and Pakistani children's understanding of death: cultural and developmental influences.

The findings support the view that aspects of a mature understanding of death develop between the ages of 4 and 7 years and that the process of understanding death as a biological event is, to a great extent, universal and suggest that parts of children's reasoning are influenced by culturally specific experiences, particularly those arising from living in rural versus urban settings.

The development of children’s understanding of death

This study explored British primary school-aged children’s (N = 92) understanding of death as a biological event. By examining the impact of age, cognitive ability, religious beliefs, previous

Sources of children's knowledge about death and dying

This paper discusses three sources of children's learning about death and dying, namely, direct experience of death, parental communication aboutdeath and portrayals of death in the media and the arts, and recommends how best to teach modern children about this aspect of life.
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 57 REFERENCES

Children's Acceptance of Conflicting Testimony: The Case of Death

Children aged 7 and 11 years were interviewed about death in the context of two different narratives. Each narrative described the death of a grandparent but one narrative provided a secular context

Rethinking ancestors in Africa

Analyses of ancestor-related practices were a crucial component of structural-functional models of social organisations in Africa. In the 1970s the theories of lineage and segmentary social

Learning about life and death in early childhood

The development of afterlife beliefs in religiously and secularly schooled children.

Although children attending Catholic school were generally more likely to state that functions continue after death than children attending secular school, the pattern of change with regard to question type did not differ between the Catholic and secular groups.

Ancestors as Elders in Africa

Opening Paragraph Ancestor cults and ancestor worship loom large in the anthropological image of sub-Saharan Africa and few would disagree with Fortes that ‘comparatively viewed, African ancestor

The natural emergence of reasoning about the afterlife as a developmental regularity.

Findings suggest that developmental mechanisms underlie intuitive accounts of dead agents' minds, and that older children and adults were likely to attribute epistemic, emotional, and desire states to dead agents.

Ancestors, power, and history in Madagascar

The peoples of Madagascar are renowned for the prominence they give to the dead. In this edited volume, regional specialists reassess the significance of ancestors for changing relations of power,

Adult' conceptualization of irreversibility: implications for the development of the concept of death

Abstract Studies of the development of children's understanding of death typically compare the children's understanding against a presumed mature adult concept. This study examined the validity of

The Road to Clarity: Seventh-Day Adventism in Madagascar

In recent years, millions of people have joined churches such as the Seventh-day Adventist which prosper enormously in different parts of the world. The Road to Clarity is one of the first
...