Sergei V. Sokolovskiy

The article employs the actor-network methodology within the context of death studies — specifically, the concepts of assemblage and hybridity — to deal with such issues as the definition of death and commemoration of the deceased. The multiplicity of the human body is primarily conceptualized as its entanglement with various elements of the environment, exemplified by contemporary concepts such as embodied mind, situated and distributed cognition, enhanced and extended memory, etc. The author proposes a working typology of techno-somatic assemblages or integration types — including body techniques, incorporation, extensions, and inscriptions (translations, delegation of actions) — and poses the question about the post-mortal fate of the aggregates that have been based on these types of integration. A brief overview of the concepts of biological death and the social body suggests that human death is multimodal and heterochronous: the moment of biological death does not coincide with the time of social death. The post-mortal social body is viewed as a set of transformed assemblages and their parts or elements that — by serving as triggers for the
memorialization acts for friends and relatives of the deceased — shape and inform commemorative infrastructures. The techno-somatic assemblages that include human bodies as their elements do not disappear at the biological
body’s death — they transform. Routine activities of the distributed self leave lasting marks that form the complex geography of commemoration and memorialization loci.
Keywords: social body, hybridity, assemblage, death definition, extension, inscription, incorporation, commemorative infrastructure