Death, Society, and Human Experience
This landmark text on the sociology of death and dying draws on contributions from the social and behavioral sciences as well as the humanities, such as history, religion, philosophy, literature, and the arts, to provide thorough coverage of understanding death and the dying process.
The text focuses on both individual and societal attitudes and how they influence both how and when we die and how we live and deal with the knowledge of death and loss. Robert Kastenbaum is a renowned scholar in the field who developed one of the world's first death education courses and introduced the first text for this market.
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Kastenbaum's landmark text attempts to integrate all of the dimensions of the dying experience with all of the dimensions of cultural, political, religious, and economic considerations, While done with considerable skill, it is at the expense of depth in any one area, and it leaves the reader with a sense of having only cursorily touched upon a multiplicity of topics. In a number of instances, the author offers his interpretation and commentary, as in discussing the topics of assisted suicide, the right-to-die, and abortion. In these topics, his liberal, humanist and secularist perspectives are bolstered by research that corroborates his stance. He does a less thorough job of helping the reader understand the alternative approaches to death and dying as experienced by individuals with strong faith traditions in which death is seen as a transitional and transformational process rather than as a finality.
WHAT IS DEATH?
EVENT VERSUS STATE
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