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.

The Physical World

The Physical World

Though modernity has to some considerable extent domesticated nature, the physical world remains both a very real constraint on and enabler of human behaviour. Humans act in a physical and social environment; they have a body. This is true of the end as well as of the rest of life: death may be social, spiritual, existential but it is also irreducibly physical. Social, economic, and political factors greatly influence the risk of dying, but death always has immediate physical causes and dying is experienced in a body which occupies a space, whether that be a small apartment, a hospital bed, or a killing field. Dead bodies have to be disposed of. Even our afterlife imaginations are geographical, physical: death ...

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