• 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 Last will and Testament: A Neglected Document in Sociological Research
The last will and testament: A neglected document in sociological research

This essay was first published 28 years ago, but it is as timely and relevant today as it was then. It basically provides an overview of the role of the last will and testament in our society and its function in organizing and regulating inheritance. The nature and characteristics of wills have not significantly changed, nor have the laws concerning testamentary inheritance. Perhaps the only thing new concerning testamentary inheritance today is the effort in the U.S. Congress to eliminate inheritance taxes. The dynamics of the will are the same and the function of the will is unchanged as well. Most important, the last ...

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