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Cuadernos Inter.c.a.mbio sobre Centroamérica y el Caribe

On-line version ISSN 1659-4940Print version ISSN 1659-0139


CINTRON GUTIERREZ, Luis Javier. Between “make history” and “¡Qué me velen para’o!”: Exotic Wake and Contemporary Marginality in San Juan de Puerto Rico. Inter.c.a.mbio [online]. 2019, vol.16, n.1, pp.46-70. ISSN 1659-4940.

The wake ceremony is the body´s last opportunity to project itself to the community and society. This article works on a number of funeral practices that the mass media in Puerto Rico have reported since 2008, referred to as “Velorios Exóticos” (“Exotic Wakes”) or “Los Muertos Para’os” (“Standing Deaths”). In this practice, the corpse is placed outside the coffin simulating life in a frozen position. These have been observed as an echo of the narcoculture that has entered other popular sectors in the Caribbean country. The theoretical approaches of this study include sociocultural perspective on the death, the performance, and marginality. The methodologies applied include participant observation, interviews with family members and funeral home management, and archival materials. The funeral wake outside the coffin is a cultural manifestation of the urban violence in the inner city of the metropolitan area of San Juan that has penetrated other marginalized sectors of the country in order to seek fame and recognition.

Keywords : Contemporary culture; cultural studies; urban population; death studies; Puerto Rico.

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