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-Related Work Systems outside the Funeral Home
Death-related work systems outside the funeral home

A work system is defined as a set of interconnected work roles performed as part of a collaborative effort to accomplish an overall set of goals or work tasks (Bryant 1972). Within the field of thanatology or death studies, the most recognized or familiar work system is that of the funeral home. In his descriptive study, Salomone (1972) demonstrated that the funeral home consists of a number of occupational specialties coordinated in a teamwork fashion to attend to the dead with the constituent responsibilities and provide for ...

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