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 22: Megadeaths: Individual Reactions and Social Responses to Massive Loss of Life
Megadeaths: Individual Reactions and Social Responses to Massive Loss of Life
Examples of events that have led to massive loss of life, or megadeaths, abound. Such catastrophes include natural as well as human-made tragedies, such as epidemics, air and sea disasters, mining disasters, fires, cyclones, droughts, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, wars, and campaigns of genocide. All of these kinds of disasters are relevant to any discussion of megadeaths, and in the following sections we provide examples ...