• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Dying is a social as well as physiological phenomenon. Each society characterizes and, consequently, treats death and dying in its own individual ways—ways that differ markedly. These particular patterns of death and dying engender modal cultural responses, and such institutionalized behavior has familiar, economical, educational, religious, and political implications. The Handbook of Death and Dying takes stock of the vast literature in the field.

Megadeaths: Individual Reactions and Social Responses to Massive Loss of Life
Megadeaths: Individual reactions and social responses to massive loss of life

Examples of events that have led to massive loss of life, or megadeaths, abound. Such catastrophes include natural as well as human-made tragedies, such as epidemics, air and sea disasters, mining disasters, fires, cyclones, droughts, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, wars, and campaigns of genocide. All of these kinds of disasters are relevant to any discussion of megadeaths, and in the following sections we provide examples of each. In addition to examining the types of events that lead to the phenomenon of megadeath, we attempt to demonstrate the magnitude of the consequences of megadeath that result from community responses to both natural and ...

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