Over the past century, there have been considerable changes in the ways that western societies have approached the subject of death and dying. These changes in the social meanings attached to death and dying have [Page 54]been shaped by a range of social processes, the outcomes of which has seen death become much less of a shared community experience and more one of personal and private grief (an outcome termed by sociologists as the ‘privatization’ of death). The social processes identified as contributing to this shift are outlined below:
- A decline in public exposure to death and dying;
- A decline in the culture of public mourning;
- The medicalization of death and dying;
- Achieving a ‘good death’.