Dissertation abebuu.pdf


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Declaration!
!
Brief!synopsis!of!the!contents!of!the!dissertation!
!
The!structure!of!my!study!follows!the!recognized!‘phases’!in!a!coffin’s!life!
(Kopytoff!1986).!Part!I!describes!the!making!of!coffins,!and!how!coffinQmakers!
interacted!with!clients!when!receiving!commissions.1!When!the!busQshaped!
coffin!left!the!workshop,!it!was!not!an!alienated!commodity!but!had!been!
invested!with!moral!and!personal!meanings!by!its!maker(s).!Part!II!shifts!to!the!
funeral!context,!comprising!a!Friday!night!wake!and!Saturday!funeral!ceremony.!
The!use!of!photography!was!an!important!medium!helping!people!remember!the!
funeral,!the!coffin!and,!most!importantly,!the!deceased!person.!In!Part!III,!I!focus!
on!the!burial!of!the!coffin!itself.!Here,!I!apply!Gell’s!more!active!model!of!an!
object’s!biography,!where!a!coffin!‘interacts’!with!the!people!it!comes!into!
contact!with!(Hoskins!2006:!76).!Drawing!on!Gell’s!application!of!Strathern’s!
theory!of!‘partible!persons’!to!the!agency!of!objects,!I!argue!that!aspects!of!
multiple!persons!can!be!invested!in!abebuu%adekai.!!
!
I%declare%that%this%dissertation%is%substantially%my%won%work%and%does%not%contain%
material%that%has%already%been%used%to%any%substantial%extent%for%a%comparable%
purpose.%Where%reference%is%made%to%the%works%of%others%the%extent%to%which%such%
work%has%been%used%is%indicated%and%duly%acknowledged%in%the%text.%
!
Signed:!________________________!
!
A!signed!declaration!of!the!word!count!of!the!dissertation:!
!
Word!Count!(max.!10000):!_____________!
!
Acknowledgements!
!
I!am!greatly!indebted!to!the!following!groups!and!individuals!for!their!support!
and!assistance!throughout!my!work!towards!this!dissertation:!Trinity!College!
Projects!Fund!for!providing!financial!assistance!to!enable!me!to!conduct!my!
fieldwork!in!Ghana;!my!supervisor,!Jessica!Johnson,!for!her!thoughtful!feedback!
and!encouragement;!JeanQMichel!Rousset,!for!his!invaluable!advice!and!
assistance!in!arranging!my!stay!in!Ghana;!Eric!Adjetey!Anang!for!his!kindness,!
helpfulness!and!hospitality!throughout!my!stay;!Eric!Kpakpo!for!his!concern!and!
assistance;!and!finally!my!family,!for!their!constant!support.!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1!While!women!may!also!be!buried!in!abebuu%adekai,!my!examples!focus!on!design!coffins!for!

men.!CoffinQmakers!claimed!it!was!not!uncommon!for!females!to!be!buried!in!design!coffins,!but!
it!depended!on!their!profession!and!status!while!alive.!!