Culture of death in Mexico: Psychoanalytic inquiry about mourning rites and the symbolic function of society

Hada Soria-Escalante*, Juan Jaime De la Fuente-Herrera

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Mexico stands out for its unique rites of symbolization of death. Being historically determined by the richness of its pre-Hispanic cultures, and with the fusion of catholic and Mesoamerican rites, Mexicans’ relationship with death is unique. Mourning rites are imbued with a circular worldview of life and death. Some of the basic psychoanalytic components of mourning are present in Mexican mourning rites: symbolic function, cathartic affects, identification, and socialization of signifiers. Nowadays, the massive deaths as a result of violence imposes the encryption of mourning as a perverse demand. The lack of response to the cries for help render useless the symbolic functions of mourning rites, which brings about a new way of socializing the loss, through massive social movements. We inquire, through a psychoanalytic reading of mourning and its socio-historical aspects in Mexico, and by emphasizing the traditions of mourning and its multiple symbolic values, the different ways Mexicans deal with death, in order shed some light into Mexicans’ symbolic responses and relationship with death while facing the perverse challenge of a violent regime.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-285
Number of pages16
JournalCulture and Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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