Urban Cemetery Animals: An Exploration of Animals' Place in the Human Cemetery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper investigates the place of animals in the contemporary Swedish human cemetery. It does this by looking at how animals are admitted to cemeteries – alive and dead, above and below ground, physically as well as symbolically. The aim is to shed light on the various ways that animals are experienced and treated in the cemetery, and to explore how this both reflects our changing attitudes to animals and our changing attitudes to death. The paper draws on the findings from a qualitative interview study carried out at the Eastern Cemetery in Malmö, Sweden, and a follow-up study of a turtle pond, in Malmö-Limhamn Cemetery. Two different perspectives relating to animals in the cemetery were common to these studies: (1) the liminal role of the companion animal; and (2) aesthetics and care in relation to wild and domesticated animals. The two perspectives, considered as findings in their own right, are used in this paper as a foundation for discussing questions relating to how urban cemetery animals can enrich the cemetery environment and increase the importance of urban cemeteries today and in the future.


External organisations
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp
  • Uppsala University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Anthropology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
Issue number1
Early online date2017 Feb 9
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch

Related projects

Tobias Linné, Helena Pedersen, Amelie Björck, Elsa Coimbra, Erika Andersson Cederholm, Gunnar Broberg, Elisabeth Friis, Caroline Isaksson, Kristina Jennbert, Monica Libell, Ann-Sofie Lönngren, Helena Persson, Anna Petersson & Annie Potts


Project: Network

Anna Petersson, Carola Wingren, Maria Liljas, Eva Reimers & Gunnar Cerwen

FORMAS, Forskningsrådet för miljö, areella näringar och samhällsbyggande


Project: Research

View all (3)