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.

Policy and Politics

Policy and Politics

Policy and Politics

Countries such as France and Singapore are highly centralized, while Switzerland is decentralized, as are to a lesser extent federal nations such as the USA, Canada, Australia, and Germany. But however much a nation is decentralized, many laws, institutions, policies, and (in certain countries) a powerful ideology remain at the national level, shaping what individuals, families, businesses, communities, and local governments are expected to do, in death as in the rest of life. Ideology, law, institutions, and policy are inter-related, so this chapter’s division into these categories is a bit arbitrary, but I hope helpful nonetheless.


The USA, the first ‘invented’ or ‘new’ nation, has a uniquely strong national ideology, linked to the idea of American exceptionalism – the idea ...

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