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Dying Abroad
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Book description

On any given day, the remains of countless deceased migrants are shipped around the world to be buried in ancestral soils. Others are laid to rest in countries of settlement, sometimes in cemeteries established for religious and ethnic minorities, where available. For immigrants and their descendants, perennial questions about the meaning of home and homeland take on a particular gravitas in death. When the boundaries of a nation and its members are contested, burial decisions are political acts. Building on multi-sited fieldwork in Berlin and Istanbul – where the author worked as an undertaker – Dying Abroad offers a moving and powerful account of migrants' end-of-life dilemmas, vividly illustrating how they are connected to ongoing political struggles over the stakes of citizenship, belonging, and collective identity in contemporary Europe.


‘Meticulously researched and heartbreakingly told, Balkan's analysis of ‘death out of place' for Muslims of Turkish and Kurdish descent in Germany is original, important, and unforgettable.'

Neda Maghbouleh - University of Toronto Mississauga

‘What happens to those who die ‘out of place'? Dying Abroad is a remarkable, eloquent and extensively researched study in which Balkan demonstrates that death, dying, and posthumous acts of burial, bereavement, repatriation, and memorialization are contested processes for migrant Muslim communities in Europe, and constitute complex negotiations of social, political, religious, and cultural membership and belonging.'

Lisa Lowe - Yale University

‘Dying Abroad is an exciting read! With his precise, eloquent language and observations, Osman Balkan gives us an insightful and personal account of ‘death out of place'. His book provides an important window into contemporary social and political orders and the role that end-of-life practices play in the negotiation of manifold boundaries in transnational lives.'

Finn Stepputat - Danish Institute for International Studies

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