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.

The American Funeral
The american funeral

The funeral has long been a component of society's attempts to adjust to and cope with the loss of one of its members. Traditionally, it has served as a ceremony acknowledging death, as a religious rite, and as an occasion to reassure and reestablish the survivors' social group after death (Corr, Nabe, and Corr 2000). As such, it serves to commemorate life as well as establish a ritual for disposal of the body (Fulton 1988; Kastenbaum 2001). The funeral service itself serves at least two manifest purposes: completing the final placement of remains (its ...

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