Six Feet Under, series created by Alan Ball, in 2001, that takes place in a funeral home family, Fisher & Son, puts to the test the thesis of Norbert Elias, in The Loneliness of the dying. According to Norbert Elias, the death would be the subject of a “refoulement” in the West, both individual and social. At the individual level, the “discharge” takes the form of” a set of defense mechanisms psychological “. At the social level, the concealment of affect, and avoidance of death, would be the characteristics, attitudes, according to Elias a fear of death, a taboo created around it. Death nourishes a strong feeling of discomfort and the object of a taboo, which prohibits the expression of affect, and this censorship in the center of the psychic economy and social individuals represents an illustration of the “repression of impulses” by which is defined the civilization of manners1 according to Elias. – For more information on the thesis of Elias and his criticism, a major reference is the article by Jean-Hugues Déchaux, published in The année Sociologique in 2001 with “death in modern societies : the thesis of Norbert Elias to the test” (N°51, vol. 1, p. 161-184). Far from being hidden, the death is at the center of Six Feet Under, series somewhat iconoclastic.
After the accidental death of father, Nathaniel Fisher Senior, his two sons inherit the business based in Los Angeles. The disappearance of Nathaniel’s going to switch the existence of all the rest of the family. And that of the eldest son, in particular, Nathaniel, who had always refused the family business, and marked a refusal of death. Caught up in the family business, which he inherited in half with his brother, Nathaniel, who had distanced himself from the death, leaving the family home, will be forced to learn a new job, funeral director. While he had done everything possible to “suppress” the death of his life, changing city, he was caught up by it, making it his profession. More ironically still, the director of the series the credits of an aneurysm latent submits a death soon and unexpectedly…
If you can, thanks to this series analyze the report to the death, we can also follow the development of the standards family : the evolution of the institution of marriage through the hesitation of Nathaniel’s son, and Brenda, reduction of food intakes in common in the family2, claims gay parents David and Kiss…, but our focus here is quite different. We wish to look back on the process of “uptake” of mortal remains by two of the characters Vanessa Diaz, and David Fischer, via the analysis of Pascale Trompette, in his article of the French Journal of sociology “economy of the uptake : the competitive dynamics within the sector funeral” in 2005.
The market funeral, as well as the watch Pascale Trumpet is a market, ” illegitimate “, which, due to the taboo surrounding the death must be denied as such “The purchase of services funeral conducted in a situation of emotional shock has bit the client to adopt a behavior of the consumer, and the “social sanction” that weighs on the croque-death has a major consequence on the problem of the encounter between clients and service providers, the opacity of the offer.
The conditions in which is carried out the purchase of a funeral service contribute even more to make a market in particular : the purchase is of a character rather exceptional, it is generally not anticipated, carried out in the emergency, and is motivated by the constraint. This context contributes greatly to a lack of knowledge of the content of existing benefits : the customer is ” lost “. None of the conditions are met for the buyer to adopt a behavior rationalisateur and consumerist, as it does in other markets. Such a situation is conducive to the referral of the client to partners…
Understand, when a family member dies in the hospital, unexpectedly, where the “future customer” can best find information on the formalities mortuary ? In the hospital ? Pascale Trumpet shows that the market funeral will find historically to organise within hospitals, to supplement the default home rooms mortuary of the hospital. “From the beginning of the sixties, we are witnessing the development of the “burial chambers” that override the morgue of hospital public to become the privileged place for the reception of corpses “”The private operators meet here a providential opportunity to conquer the” upstream supply chain “. They invest in new equipment, the ” burial chambers “, deposits body which they ensure the complete management. The offer is immediate, efficient and less expensive, it provides temporary health care facilities to invest in equipment ad hoc. “Therefore, puts in place a true “capture” of the source, the location of the death, of the customers for the undertakers.
Here we are… the series Six feet under offers from this point of view, two perfect examples of this strategy of “uptake” or strategic positioning to attract to itself a clientele. Health care Aide at the hospital, Vanessa Diaz is the wife of Fédérico Diaz, the thanatopracteur the fairy fingers of the Fischer family. By virtue of their position within the hospital, and faced with the death of her patients, she is able to guide the deceased and their families to Fischer and sons. Her husband, who seeks to become a partner of Fischer, does not hesitate to remind its role as a provider of customer… Other position appropriate, that of David Fischer, the son, who like his father is a deacon in the church of the district. There is always one of the faithful who has just lost a loved one… In fact, can we conclude with Pascale Trumpet ” That they posted themselves at the entrance to the town halls, cemeteries, or at the exit of the hospital, the funeral leave to meet clients who do not come themselves to visit their shops… “