In recent years, the social sciences have seen an upsurge of interest in death and dying. The fascination with death is reflected in popular media such as newspapers, television documentaries, films and soaps, and, moreover, in the multiplying range of professional roles associated with dying and death. Yet despite its ubiquitous significance, the majority of texts in the field have been written primarily for health professionals. This book breaks with that tradition.
It provides a cutting edge, comprehensive discussion of the key topics in death and dying and in so doing demonstrates that the study of mortality is germane to all areas of sociology. The book is organised thematically, utilising empirical material from cross-national and cross-cultural perspectives. It carefully addresses questions about social attitudes to mortality, the social nature of death and dying, explanations for change and diversity in approaches, and traditional, modern and postmodern experiences of death.
Death and Dying will appeal to students across the social sciences, as well as professionals whose work brings them into contact with dying or bereaved people.
PART I. SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS AND ATTITUDES TO DEATH.
1. Death, Denial and Diversity.
2. When and How People Die.
3. Life and Death in "Risk Society’.
4. Death, Religion and Spirituality.
5. Death and the Media.
PART II. SOCIAL STRUCTURES AND INDIVIDUAL EXPERIENCES OF DYING.
6. Dying: Institutionalization and Medicalization.
7. The Good Death.
8. The Social Organization of Sudden Death.
9. The Dying and the Dead Body.
PART III. POST-DEATH RITUALS OF REMEMBRANCE AND SURVIVAL BELIEFS.
10. Grief and Loss.
11. Relationships Between the Living and the Dead.
12. Mortuary Rituals.
Conclusion: Resurrecting Death?.