• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

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.

Death in the Future: Prospects and Prognosis
Death in the future: Prospects and prognosis

The chapters included in this two-volumeHandbook of Death and Dying represent some of the most unique aspects of the human imagination. At the very least, these chapters illustrate how human perceptions and social meanings, as these refer to the phenomenon of death, are highly variable and almost limitless. Yet as noted throughout these essays, the meanings and perceptions of death and dying are embedded in and influenced by cultural beliefs, moral codification, social processes, and structural realities. Thus they are subject to controversy and change.

In addressing the content of this final chapter, the editors acknowledge that as public perceptions of death change and cultural practices increasingly serve the needs of the body ...

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