• 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.

Death, Dying, and the Dead in Popular Culture
Death, dying, and the dead in popular culture

Fulton and Owen (1987) have observed that for members of the generation born after World War II, individuals who generally lack firsthand experience with death, the phenomenon of death and dying has become abstract and invisible. Americans, like members of many other societies, attach fearful meanings to death, dying, and the dead (Leming and Dickinson 2002). Moreover, it is has frequently been suggested that the United States has become a “death-denying” culture. A number of scholars have documented the various ways in which Americans attempt to deny death (e.g., DeSpelder and Strickland 2002; Leming and Dickinson, 2002; Mannino 1997; Oaks and Ezell 1993; Umberson and Henderson 1992). For example, we ...

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