Accepted paper:

Paving the way: exploring the entanglement of mortuary rituals and road networks in Ifugao, Philippines


Kathrine Ann Cagat (University of Utah Asia Campus)

Paper short abstract:

This paper aims to illuminate the intersection between ritual and technology, by showing how mortuary rituals and road networks in Ifugao are entangled.

Paper long abstract:

While Ifugao agricultural rituals have waned, or have been altogether discontinued in some municipalities of Ifugao, mortuary rituals continue to be prevalent and widely practiced. This paper aims to understand the efficacy of well-being rites by approaching funerary rituals as a sociotechnical activity and situating it in broader discussions regarding rural development concerns within Ifugao Province. Specifically, I explore the links between the upholding of funerary rituals and the (in)accessibility of road networks in the highland province. Here, I explore the sociotechnecality of funerary rituals to understand the way in which Ifugaos recruit and deploy particular sets of knowledge and skills to increase people's capacity to engage with uncertainties. In this case, mortuary rituals serve as additional pathways for ensuring the well-being of the living and the deceased amid the uncertainties of life and the after-life. Such rituals likewise provide a channel for the maintenance of kinship ties between ancestors and descendants. Constituted in such relations are road networks that, like funerary and well-being rites, allow for mobility and access to resources and opportunities that expand Ifugaos' capacity to ensure well-being, despite the fact that such technological systems also come with their own ambiguities. Road networks are likewise crucial to the maintenance of kin relations, especially as family members have dispersed to different parts of Philippines. As such, this paper seeks to illuminate the intersection between ritual and technology, by showing how road networks and funerary rites are entangled.

panel IP02
Intimacies of infrastructure