Handbook of Death & Dying, 1st Edition

  • Editor: Clifton D. Bryant [Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Blacksburg)]
  • Published By: SAGE
  • ISBN-10: 1412914299
  • ISBN-13: 9781412914291
  • Grade Level Range: College Freshman - College Senior
  • 1144 Pages | eBook
  • Original Copyright 2003 | Published/Released November 2004
  • This publication's content originally published in print form: 2003

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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 of thanatology, arranging and synthesizing what has been an unwieldy body of knowledge into a concise, yet comprehensive reference work. This two-volume handbook will provide direction and momentum to the study of death-related behavior for many years to come.

Features and benefits include:

  • More than 100 contributors representing authoritative expertise in a diverse array of disciplines including - Anthropology, Family Studies, History, Law, Medicine, Mortuary Science, Philosophy, Psychology, Social work, Sociology, and Theology
  • A distinguished editorial board of leading scholars and researchers in the field
  • More than 100 definitive essays covering almost every dimension of death-related behavior
  • Comprehensive and inclusive, exploring concepts and social patterns within the larger topical concern
  • Journal article length essays that address topics with appropriate detail

Originally published in print format in 2003, this title is now available in eBook format through Gale Virtual Reference Library.



  • Clifton D. Bryant [Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Blacksburg)]

Table of Contents

Half Title Page.
Editorial Board.
Title Page.
Copyright page.
Preface: A Thanatological Odyssey.
About the Editors.
About the Contributors.
1: Part I: Death in Cultural Context.
2: Confronting Death.
3: The Universal Fear of Death and the Cultural Response.
4: Historical Changes in the Meaning of Death in the Western Tradition.
5: Dealing With Death: Western Philosophical Perspectives.
6: Death Denial: Hiding and Camouflaging Death.
7: Death, Dying, and the Dead in Popular Culture.
8: The Death Awareness Movement: Description, History, and Analysis.
9: Keeping the Dead Alive.
10: The Spiritualist Movement: Bringing the Dead Back.
11: Reincarnation: The Technology of Death.
12: Hosts and Ghosts: The Dead as Visitors in Cross-Cultural Perspective.
13: Ghosts: The Dead Among Us.
14: The Malevolent "Undead": Cross-Cultural Perspectives.
15: Transcending Death: Religious After-Death Beliefs.
16: Spirituality.
17: Religion and the Mediation of Death Fear.
18: Christian Beliefs Concerning Death and Life After Death.
19: Near-Death Experiences as Secular Eschatology.
20: Death and Social Exchange.
21: Life Insurance as Social Exchange Mechanism.
22: "Full Military Honors": Ceremonial Interment as Sacred Compact.
23: Symbolic Immortality and Social Theory: The Relevance of an Underutilized Concept.
24: Part II: Death in Social Context Variants in Morality and Meaning.
25: The Social Modes of Death: The Import of Context and Circumstance.
26: Historical and Epidemiological Trends in Mortality in the United States.
27: Global Mortality Rates: Variations and Their Consequences for the Experience of Dying.
28: To Die, by Mistake: Accidental Deaths.
29: Megadeaths: Individual Reactions and Social Responses to Massive Loss of Life.
30: On the Role and Meaning of Death in Terrorism.
31: Death Attributed to Medical Error.
32: Homicidal Death.
33: Pre-Personality Deaths.
34: Pre-Personality Pregnancy Losses: Miscarriages, Stillbirths, and Abortions.
35: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
36: Death as Social Entity: The Social Construction of Death.
37: The Evolution of the Legal Definition of Death.
38: Death Education.
39: Death as Intermission: The Continuation of Identity.
40: The Postself in Social Context.
41: Part III: Death and Social Controversy.
42: Suicide.
43: Historical Suicide.
44: Suicide and Suicide Trends in the United States, 1900–1999.
45: Suicide Survivors: The Aftermath of Suicide and Suicidal Behavior.
46: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Suicide.
47: Capital Punishment.
48: A History of Execution Methods in the United States.
49: Capital Punishment in the United States.
50: Military Executions.
51: Abortion.
52: The Abortion Issue in the United States.
53: The HIV/AIDS Epidemic.
54: Dying of AIDS and Social Stigmatization.
55: Euthanasia.
56: Medical Euthanasia.
57: Physician-Assisted Death.
58: Part IV: Passing Away: Dying as Social Process.
59: Death as Social Process: The Approach of Death.
60: Death Awareness and Adjustment Across the Life Span.
61: Dying as Deviance: An Update on the Relationship Between Terminal Patients and Medical Settings.
62: Death as Social Process: Dying.
63: The Dying Process.
64: On Coming to Terms With Death and Dying: Neglected Dimensions of Identity Work.
65: The Institutional Context of Death.
66: Death in Two Settings: The Acute Care Facility and Hospice.
67: The History of the Hospice Approach.
68: Dying in a Total Institution: The Case of Death in Prison.
69: Formal and Informal Caregiving at the End of Life.