Death comes to all humans, but how death is managed, symbolised and experienced varies widely, not only between individuals but also between groups. What then shapes how a society manages death, dying and bereavement today? Are all modern countries similar? How important are culture, the physical environment, national histories, national laws and institutions, and globalization? This is the first book to look at how all these different factors shape death and dying in the modern world. Written by an internationally renowned scholar in death studies, and drawing on examples from around the world, including the UK, USA, China and Japan, The Netherlands, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. This book investigates how key factors such as money, communication technologies, the family, religion, and war, interact in complex ways to shape people’s experiences of dying and grief. Essential reading for students, researchers and professionals across sociology, anthropology, social work and healthcare, and for anyone who wants to understand how countries around the world manage death and dying.
Chapter 4: Communication
Death is irreducibly physical, but it is also social. Getting frail or terminally ill and then dying disrupts family and other social networks; bereavement restructures social engagement with both the living and the dead. The Internet is also, and increasingly, social, so much so that nowadays the term ‘social network’ is as likely to mean online as offline networks. So this chapter seeks to show how communication technologies – a key part of modernity – affect experiences of dying, and of grieving (Walter et al., 2011–12).
‘ICT’ refers to information and communication technology. As well as communication, people may need information at the end of life. We die only once, so dying presents an entirely new situation for each individual who faces it, and ...