• 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.

The Disposition of Property: Transfers between the Dead and the Living
The disposition of property: Transfers between the dead and the living

Acentral fact of social life is that individual people die but societies live on, as does whatever personal property individuals have managed to accumulate over their lifetimes. Because death is inevitable, societies establish formal and informal rules for the disposition of accumulated property at death. The rules of inheritance constitute a complex and variable social, economic, and political process that links generations and provides the foundation for social organizational continuity.

Inheritance is an integral component of family, economic, and legal institutions. Inheritance practices are also a basic component of stratification systems and the intergenerational transfer of economic, political, and social resources. Clearly, there is considerable ...

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