Bio-cremation: Sustainability, bodily disposition and the uptake of new technologies

Status: Current

Dates: 2013 - Start

Māori Relevant Content: No

Project Abstract

Broad social changes towards more sustainable and efficient technologies of waste disposal are emerging. The technologies used in fire-cremation are becoming problematic because of their use of fossil fuels, their emissions and the shift in attitudes and technologies toward green alternatives. Now there is a desire for and the technological capability to offer a real third alternative between burial and cremation – alkaline hydrolysis or bio-cremation.  While there is existing research on attitudes to eco-burials  (Clayden, Hockey, Green, and Powel 2009; Rumble 2011) and an extensive literature on cremation in the  UK ( including  for example Davies 1990; Grainger 2006; Jupp 2005; Parsons 2005) there is little understanding of the existing social and material context and potential roadblocks for bio-cremation  in the UK.  Social science research has yet to investigate the human and institutional landscape and the relationships between the different stakeholders and the objectives under consideration in the introduction of bio-cremation, despite these networks and relationships being crucial to its successful adoption. This research project seeks to address this gap by conducting a case study of bio-cremation. The aim of the project is to find out whether and how existing networks and interactions between the various stakeholders hinder and/ or enable the public uptake of (openness to) bio-cremation. More broadly, the project is about how social, political and cultural values associated with bodily disposition affect the uptake of technological innovation and vice versa.  It is important to   understand the requirements for a successful uptake and sustained use of this eco-technology.

Researchers - UC Staff

Subject Area: Disciplines