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.



This chapter considers how religion can affect death, dying, and bereavement.

Across the world and throughout history, religion has been concerned with death. Indeed anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski (1925) thought that religion is driven by the anxiety that death provokes in humans. From his study of the Trobriand Islanders, he concluded that religion and magic enable tribal peoples to manage the risks and dangers posed by the natural world, for example when fishing out in the ocean. Others, however, note that religion may cultivate anxiety as well as reassurance in the face of death, for example when religions threaten post-mortem punishment for unrighteousness in this life.

Not All Religions are the Same

The most obvious way that religion deals with mortality, at least in the eyes of ...

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