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The Politics of Value in French Funeral Arrangements: Three Types of Moral Calculation

Abstract : This paper draws upon the history of the funeral market over two centuries to examine three major devices which have played a central role in the funeral economy, both in terms of defining the nature of the 'goods' and their attendant value but also in regulating the relations between the Pompes Fune'bres and the other institutional actors involved. It highlights the ways in which these devices provide a 'politics of value' performing the articulation between the formatting of economic value and the pursuit of political concerns. First, observing the constitutional phase of the private industry, it examines the 'system of the classes' as a central device of managing dissonance between conflicting interests. Then, a historical jump leads us to half way through the twentieth century to the market infrastructure formed by the management of 'care for the deceased'. As a third point, the exponential development of death insurance in recent years appears as an expression of rationalization of funeral arrangement. The analysis of the market devices will highlight an essential property, that is, the incorporation of a 'calculation formula' which set up both the profit sharing and the handling of moral and political issues.
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Contributor : Pascale Trompette <>
Submitted on : Saturday, December 28, 2013 - 9:48:34 AM
Last modification on : Friday, November 20, 2020 - 11:16:08 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-00922562, version 1




Pascale Trompette. The Politics of Value in French Funeral Arrangements: Three Types of Moral Calculation. Journal of Cultural Economy, Routledge, 2013, 6 (4), pp.370-385. ⟨halshs-00922562⟩



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