Dying is a social as well as physiological phenomenon. Each society characterizes and, consequently, treats death and dying in its own individual ways—ways that differ markedly. These particular patterns of death and dying engender modal cultural responses, and such institutionalized behavior has familiar, economical, educational, religious, and political implications. The Handbook of Death and Dying takes stock of the vast literature in the field.
Chapter 10: Ghosts: The Dead among us
Ghosts: The Dead among us
Problematic is the first word to say about ghosts in modern Western society. As Buse and Stott (1999) state in the introduction to their edited volumeGhosts: Deconstruction, Psychoanalysis, History,“It is safe to say that to be interested in ghosts these days is decidedly anachronistic” (p. 1); they also note, “It is now frivolous to believe in ghosts” (p. 3). Of course, they go on to argue the importance of the ghost concept in theoretical realms, language, literature, and history. Nevertheless, they take for granted that the Reformation dismissed (for Protestants) the notion of ghosts returning from purgatory, and that the Enlightenment made the very idea of ghosts seem irrational to most moderns.
Whether ghosts are frivolous ...