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 84: The Experience of Grief and Bereavement
In a sense, the history of humanity can be understood as the history of grief. Indeed, long before written accounts chronicled human events, prehistoric burial rituals gave evidence of the enduring concern of earlyHomo sapiens with members of their families or tribes who had died. Likewise, as cultures evolved, so too did these rituals of remembrance, giving rise to elaborate practices of collective mourning as described in the 8th-centuryBeowulf epic and often prescribed within the classic texts of the world's great religions. Not surprisingly, with the emergence of the ...