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Avances del Cesor

versión impresa ISSN 1514-3899versión On-line ISSN 2422-6580


FIQUEPRON, Maximiliano Ricardo. The Vice President’s Death: epidemics and crises in Buenos Aires (1867-1868). Av. Cesor [online]. 2017, vol.14, n.17, pp.19-37. ISSN 1514-3899.

In this article we will discuss the ritual dimension of funerals and its connection with an important event throughout the XIX century: the arrival and spread of cholera epidemics. The argument that we make is that epidemics caused deep social crises, affecting all spheres of social life. These traumatic events generated a double process regarding mortuary rites. On one hand, the most usual rituals were interrupted. On the other, Buenos Aires society developed supplementary rituals so that the deceased could have their funerals. The first section of this paper will present common funeral practices in Buenos Aires and the disruptive characteristics of cholera. We will see that Buenos Aires’s society had an wide and ductile repertoire of funeral practices, and though during the epidemics it would not be possible to let the most common ones happen, some others emerged to mitigate the change in the scenario unleashed by the crisis. The other process was that, in addition to demographic crises, epidemics accentuated political crises and social tensions, which were settled both during and immediately after the epidemics. To this end, a second section will examine the death of cholera of Vice President Marcos Paz during the summer of 1868. We postulate that the State was an essential factor in the tributes to some dead, especially those that allowed redirecting institutional and / or politic conflicts. Thus, our argument is that the rituals were a key element to normalize conflicts that exceeded the demographic crisis alone.

Palabras clave : Epidemics; Burials; Estate; Buenos Aires; XIX Century.

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