Death and Dying in America

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Polity, Jul 27, 2009 - Psychology - 240 pages
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This engaging new book takes a fresh approach to the major topics surrounding the processes and rituals of death and dying in the United States. It emphasizes individual experiences and personal reactions to death as well as placing mortality within a wider social context, drawing on theoretical frameworks, empirical research and popular culture.


Throughout the text the authors highlight the importance of two key factors in American society which determine who dies and under what circumstances: persistent social inequality and the American consumerist ethic. These features are explored through a discussion of topics ranging from debates about euthanasia to deaths resulting from war and terrorism; from the death of a child to children’s experience of grieving and bereavement; and from beliefs about life after death to more practical issues such as the disposal of the dead body.


Drawing on sociological, anthropological, philosophical, and historical research the authors present the salient features of death and dying for upper-level students across the social sciences. For anyone interested in learning more about the end of life, this book will provide a useful and accessible perspective on the uniquely American understanding of death and dying.

 

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Contents

1 An American View ofDeath
3
2 Changing Demographic and Cultural Aspects of Death
9
PART II DEATH AND ITS AFTERMATH
27
3 Where Dying Takes Place
29
4 Dying
47
5 Funeral Practices
67
PART III INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE DEATH
91
6 Children and Death
93
PART IV COPING WITH DEATH
139
8 Giving Bad News
141
9 The Grieving Process
161
10 Life after Death
179
Conclusion
197
Notes
203
References
205
Index
227

7 Death and Destruction
117

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About the author (2009)

Andrea Fontana, Professor of Sociology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Jennifer Reid Keene, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

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