Status After Death. Understanding Posthumous Social Influence Through a Case Study on the Christian-Orthodox Tradition

Stefania Matei, Marian Preda


In this paper we propose a conceptualization of posthumous social status as a performative reality accomplished through collective actions that are materially and symbolically legitimated. We question the classical definitions of social status that lead to oversocialized theoretical models, and we argue for the necessity to reconsider the relation between social status and social roles in order to gain insight into the reality of a social presence after death. On this account, we claim that the prestige attached to one's position in society is a social phenomenon produced through autopoietic systems of social influence rather than a pre-existent and stable feature embedded in hierarchical structures and actions. Therefore, we clarify the link between social status and systems of influence through a case study in which we discuss how the Christian-Orthodox tradition is socially organized as a powerful realm of doing posthumous social status.


Posthumous social status, social immortality, posthumous prestige, social status, social influence, systems of influence, performativity, autopoietic social systems

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