Daniel Robins 2018

University of York

Disposing of ‘necro-waste’

This talk will draw on the conceptual framework underpinning my thesis, which analogises corpse materials as waste, otherwise known as ‘necro-waste’ (Olson, 2016). The thesis specifically asks ‘what is the value of “necro-waste”?’ In other words, it aims to understand how corpse materials can be recycled as the UK Death Industry develops alongside wider environmental social change. By taking a waste-orientated approach to corpse materials, the talk sets out to achieve two things. First, it will provide a comparative analysis of cremation and natural burial, exploring the challenges that the necro-waste presents to the operation of each method. Second, it will challenge what it means to dispose of the dead by using the concept of ‘necro-waste’ to interrogate the wider concept of disposal; adding to its understanding as a process of meaning management, rather than a process of meaning deletion (Munro, 2001). It is thought that this could aid the development of Death Industry protocols and wider UK policies involving the management of the dead.


The Cemetery Research Group runs two events a year: in May and in November. Follow the links and send in an abstract