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War mementos and the souls of missing soldiers: returning effects of the battlefield dead

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Harrison, Simon (2008) War mementos and the souls of missing soldiers: returning effects of the battlefield dead. JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE, 14 (4). pp. 774-790. [Journal article]

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DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9655.2008.00530.x

Abstract

This article discusses acts of restitutive giving, a range of practices similar to the gift except that they express sociability by reaffirming between donors and recipients the existence of social boundaries rather than connections. The particular case discussed concerns military personnel in the major wars of the twentieth century, who took personal items from the enemy dead as battle trophies. Focusing on the Pacific War, the article explores the meaning of these objects for the servicemen who kept them, and the ways in which this meaning altered during their later lives. In particular, the article seeks to explain why some veterans in old age, or their families after their deaths, traced the original owners' surviving kin and returned the objects to them. Le present article discute des actes de restitution, des pratiques proches du don a ceci pres qu'elles expriment la sociabilite en reaffirmant entre celui qui donne et celui qui recoit l'existence de frontieres sociales plutot que de liens. Le cas particulier discute ici concerne des militaires ayant participe aux grands conflits armes du XXeme siecle, qui avaient emporte comme trophees de guerre des biens personnels de leurs ennemis morts au combat. Dans le cas plus precis de la guerre du Pacifique, l'auteur explore la signification de ces objets pour les militaires qui les ont gardes, et la maniere dont cette signification a change par la suite au fil de leur vie. Il s'agit en particulier d'expliquer pourquoi certains anciens combattants, devenus vieux, ou leur famille apres leur mort, ont recherche les parents survivants des anciens proprietaires de ces objets pour leur rendre ceux-ci.

Item Type:Journal article
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Psychology
ID Code:1557
Deposited By:Mrs Fiona Harkin
Deposited On:23 Dec 2009 09:16
Last Modified:15 Nov 2013 18:42

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