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.

Death Denial?

Death Denial?

Part I has pointed to several technological and economic aspects of modernity that shape death, dying and bereavement:

  • Advances in food production and distribution, sanitation, and medicine have produced unprecedented longevity in which death now normally comes in old age, allowing all kinds of new possibilities in life as well as transforming expectations about death and loss (Chapter 1).
  • Death now primarily falls within the arena of health and bureaucratically organized health institutions; doctors and other health professionals are looked to for knowledge not only about dying, but also management of the dead body and mourning. Over half of modern populations in advanced industrial societies die in hospitals and other health-oriented institutions. And it is doctors who oversee assisted dying / voluntary euthanasia ...
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