Repatriating human remains: Searching for an acceptable ethics

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Requests for the repatriation of human remains raise a number of perplexing ethical issues for cultural heritage institutions. The ethics of repatriation is complex, because, as Scarre (J Appl Philos 20:237-249, 2003) points out, it involves a four-way relationship between (1) cultural heritage professionals and institutions, (2) ‘the public’, (3) individuals or communities claiming close cultural and/or kinship ties with the dead and (4) the dead themselves. In this chapter, we examine the key ethical issues raised by this complex relationship and evaluate what they might mean for cultural heritage practice and policy.




Dickerson, A. B., & Ceeney, E. R. (2015). Repatriating human remains: Searching for an acceptable ethics. In The Ethics of Cultural Heritage (pp. 89–104). Springer New York.

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