Mort & Anthropologie.

Soins palliatifs, Ritualité, Mémoire, Deuil, Suicide assisté, Ethique, Esthétique, Technologie, Corps, Fin de vie, Croyance, Pratique professionnelle, Crémation, Catastrophe

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From technical measures to moral obligations: The management and fate of fragmented human remains following disasters. The case of a plane crash in France in 2015

Death Studies, 2022, p. 655-665

This article studies the management of human remains (handling, trajectory, fate, status) and the compromises made by the experts involved in the context of an air disaster that took place in France in 2015. Advances in identification techniques are shown to have had concrete effects on applied practice. On the one hand, the presence of human remains enables: victims can be identified and their deaths formally registered, following which the body can be returned to surviving relatives for a proper funeral. On the other, it obliges: human elements or debris, however small, require experts to decide on their status and legitimate destiny. The tradeoffs between technical, economic, legal, moral, and cultural considerations are forging a new way of working with human remains. A trend can be observed whereby principles that previously applied only to the corpse are being extended to human remains that would have otherwise been excluded.