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 79: The Social History of the European Cemetery
The historical study of cemeteries has been dominated by several themes that have been played out in different religious, cultural, and political contexts across Europe. The first has been the concern with health as old burial grounds were unable to cope with increased population density and the consequent numbers of deaths. The second was the overcoming of entrenched vested interests in old patterns of burial, notably from the established churches. The third was the fascination with fashionable designs for the new cemeteries, which changed over time ...