• 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.

Dying as Deviance: An Update on the Relationship between Terminal Patients and Medical Settings
Dying as deviance: An update on the relationship between terminal patients and medical settings

Much has been written about death and dying as historically forbidden topics of conversation. As human beings, we will, as the argument goes, do almost anything to avoid talking about either our own deaths or the impending deaths of others (Feifel 1963; Becker 1973; Sudnow 1967; Kübler-Ross 1969). Whether this human tendency is the result of a natural aversion to death, what Becker (1973) calls the “morbidly-minded argument,” or whether it is simply a social convention in this culture (Knutson 1970), it has often been observed that Americans are uncomfortable around the topic of death. Moreover, the status ...

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