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 55: The American Family and the Processing of Death Prior to the 20th Century
The death of a loved one has never been considered a casual experience at any point in the history of the American family. Also a constant, at least prior to the 20th century, was a prevalence of death in ordinary life that forced individuals to continuously confront the philosophical and practical implications of this reality of human existence. What altered over time, however, were the strategies and processes by which survivors within the family dealt ...