technical paper

AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

Family Loves the Dead: Care after life in Sunyani, Ghana



immigration and diasporas

kinship and families

Global populations are changing. Widespread demographic shifts have resulted in social transformations that impact families, individuals and communities. One particular area of concern is population aging, which has created ongoing challenges regarding the care of elderly people. In Ghana, as elsewhere, a global aging population has created a gap between elderly people’s expectations of care and the ability for family members to provide that care. Increasingly, narratives around elder care by both older and younger Ghanaians claim that near the end of life, family members often neglect their social obligations to extended kin, yet once a person is near death or has died, family members meet their kin obligations in highly visible ways. One such way is through the public display of funeral posters, which line the streets of main roads throughout Ghana. Their purpose is twofold: to announce the burial and funeral arrangements of their loved one, and, more importantly, to signal that their kinship obligations are being met, often in an attempt to repair kin relations that have been strained or severed. In this paper, I examine a series of funeral posters and contrast the moralizing messages and symbols that put forth an image of continuity and care with the narratives of Ghanaians who feel that family members are prioritizing more public displays of care after death, rather than attending to the more private kin obligations that occur while a person is still living.


Transcript English (automatic)

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