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.
Part II: Risk
Part I outlined common factors that impinge on all modern societies and influence how they manage death, dying, and grief. But there are also significant differences, both within and between societies at the same level of economic development, and these interact with the common factors in complex ways. In other words, modernity – in death as in life – is multiple (Eisenstadt, 2000). Part II looks at some variations in modernity in terms of the ‘landscape’ of risk and inequality; it also considers variations in the physical environment itself.
Modernity is often believed to have greatly enhanced human control over nature. Certainly modernity’s control of nature has drastically reduced some of the risks to life that have afflicted humankind for millennia, including many infectious ...