This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Sociology Of Death And Dying Essay

2429 words - 10 pages


De Spelder and Strickland (1983) say that the understanding of death is communicated through the process of socialization by which children learn the concepts and conversations that have value in modern society (p.64). Geoffrey Goer believes that there is evidence to suggest that death has become a taboo and has replaced sex as the unspoken subject of today’s society. Goer says children “are initiated in their early years to love (the concept of sex); But they no longer see their grandfather and express astonishment, they are told that he is resting in a beautiful garden among the flowers” (Walter, p.92-3, 1991). In this essay I will discuss whether death is what Geoffrey Goer suggests, a ‘taboo’ subject within Western Society. Firstly, I will outline what I mean by the terms ‘death’ and ‘taboo’, after which I will place reasons why academics find death to be tabooed and why some argue why death is not tabooed subject. Finally from the analysis of these arguments, I will propose from the evidence, whether in fact death is actually ‘tabooed’.

Before arguments are presented it is beneficial to outline and define what ‘taboo’ and ‘death’ mean. ‘Taboo’ is defined as “something prohibited, forbidden, by custom rather than by law. It may be something too terrible even to think of, it reality denied, or more weakly, it simply not be mentioned in conversation” (Walter, p.295, 1991). From this definition, we can see that a taboo is when there is an absence communication due to cautioning, of whatever subject, but in this case, death. The definition of ‘Death’ in the biomedical sense is the absence of life, whereby somebody is no longer living anymore. Furthermore, death is also accompanied by a ‘certification’ by a physician that “meets society’s need for verifying that one of its members has been lost” (Kastenbaum, p.33, 2001).

Taboo

The Medicalization of death has bought many academics in the past to argue why death has become a taboo subject. Historically at the late eighteenth western culture experienced a medicalization where the deathbed became at the control of the doctor rather than the dying person, the priest and their own families (Walter, p.12, 1994). The hospital was not used before this point as a place for the dying, but rather a shelter for the poor, but now it has changed into a medical centre for people to come to be healed or struggle against death. Now Aries (1974) argues that this change in functionality marked the beginning for the hospital to be a designated spot for dying (p.87-8). This outcome of medicalization marked according to Walter (1991), the end of a spiritual passage and the birth of a more natural, secular passage (p.12). De Spelder (1983) adds; around the turn of the century, the Romantic attitude toward death weakened and the care of the dying and the dead would be delegated to the professionals, and the process of death would become no longer a familiar element of life (p.64). Aries (1974) more...

Find Another Essay On Sociology of Death and Dying

Death and Dying in Taiwan Essay

2266 words - 10 pages All cultures have their own views on the subject of death and dying, no one culture’s follows the same methods as another. A reason for this is religion; there are so many diverse religions in the world enabling distinct values and customs towards death. Taiwan is no exception to this; religion within the country is made up of a variety of different religious beliefs and practices, as a result of their multicultural history. Compared to

Death and Dying in Relation to Buddhism

2759 words - 12 pages Although people in general may have different views and/or ideas on death and dying, is it possible to come to some kind of consensus on its definition? In this essay paper titled, “What Is the Meaning of a Good Death?” I will focus on its definition; discuss where this idea came from and its relation to a traditional Buddhist death. Based on class lecture readings from RLCT 2066 (Death, Dying & Spirituality) and research completed on the

Mexican Americans: Perspectives on Death and Dying

1359 words - 5 pages Mexican Americans: Death and Dying Hispanics are the fastest growing minority in the United States, and the majority of them are Mexican in origin (Kemp, 2001). The Roman Catholic Church plays a vital role in the culture and daily life of many Mexican Americans. Consequently, healthcare personnel must become culturally competent in dealing with the different beliefs possessed by these individuals. Nurses must have the knowledge and skills

Death and Dying in the Somali Culture

1344 words - 5 pages may come across in our personal and professional lives. The Somali population has seen a significant rise in the number of individuals that are now living in central Minnesota. Most of the Somali population is of the Islamic faith. I would like to explain some of the differences in the Islamic beliefs and traditions on death and dying, why it is important to know about the differences, and what we can do it help ensure that we do not impede on

Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

2300 words - 9 pages of grief, the symptoms of grief, coping with grief, and unusual customs of mourning with particular emphasis on mourning at its most extravagant, during the Victorian era, will all be discussed in this essay (Smith, 2014). In 1969 Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a psychiatrist, published the Pioneering book On Death and Dying. The work acquainted the world with the grieving process, called the five stages of grief. Kübler-Ross gathered her research

Death and Dying: Life's Greatest Lesson (Tuesdays with Morrie)

1889 words - 8 pages out begins to slowly manifest signs of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and as of the time the two finally reconnect, is dying. Regretful of the lost time and of the state in which the relationship is renewed, Mitch resolves to visit Morrie regularly and give him an opportunity to teach his final lessons by recording their discussion of such important lifelong issues as death, fear, aging greed, marriage, family, society, forgiveness, and a

A Case Related to Death, Dying and Bereavement

1293 words - 5 pages Introduction Death, dying and bereavement would bring different memories and emotion to bereaved person. There were different manifestations of grief (Strobe, Schut, & Strobe, 2007). In the grieving process, we would experience depression, anxiety and fear about death and dying. We also felt loneliness, shock and numbness during death and dying. In addition, there were also some common grief reactions to the bereaved person too. They

Death and Dying: Life's Greatest Lesson (Tuesdays with Morrie)

850 words - 4 pages Notable in his relation of this story is his avoidance of discussing death with his uncle, attempting to suppress the thoughts and feelings even as his uncle attempts to communicate his concerns about dying, “He...said...he wouldn't be around to see his kids into the next school year...I told him not to talk that way”(p 15). Not only this, but thereafter Mitch states that he put a premium on the time he felt he really had to live, though

death and unity in as i lay dying

1085 words - 4 pages Consistently throughout Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, death is a prevalent and primary concern. Certainly, the death and burial of the matriarch, Addie Bundren, is what centres the novel, but there are many other cases of death throughout the modernist text. Dewey Dell, the only daughter of the Bundren family, longs for the death of her pregnancy, and also suffers from the death of her self-worth through sexual violence. Vardaman, the youngest

Death and Dying in Capote's Other Voices, Other Rooms

882 words - 4 pages Death is, perhaps, the most universal of themes that an author can choose to write of. Death comes to all things; not so love, betrayal, happiness, or suffering. Each death is certain, but each is also unique. In Other Voices, Other Rooms, Truman Capote addresses several deaths, and each is handled in its individual fashion. From the manner of the death to its effect on those it touches, Capote crafts vignettes within the story to give the

The Optimist's Daughter: A Look at Death and Dying

1426 words - 6 pages war and never returns. Laurel is now venturing to New Orleans to be with her dying father. After his death Laurel and her obnoxious stepmother, Fay, travel back to Laurel's home town of Mount Salus, Mississippi. Once in Mount Salus, Laurel is greeted with many friends and acquaintances. The whole town has already prepared for Laurel and the remains of her father. The day of the funeral the whole town stops to pay their respects; the school

Similar Essays

Death And Dying Essay

639 words - 3 pages Kaufman’s chapter on “Transforming Time” presented many truths most of do not want to think about. Even though we all know the inevitably of death; most of us cling to life. This is not an unusual phenomenon, but what is compelling is the perception of death. Allowing your loved one to die a “good” death verses a “bad” one. The author presented two illustrations of families faced with a loved one who is dying. One such illustration was Mrs

Death And Dying: Before And After Stages Of Death And Dying By Elisabeth Kubler Ross And William Worden

3955 words - 16 pages to the family and patient. After the death they continue to keep in touch with the family.Historically nuns were caring for the dying persons in monasteries prior to the construction of hospitals. The word hospital also comes for the Latin word for hospitality. In the late sixties a doctor named Dame Saunders applied the term Hospice to the care of the dying (History of Hospice Care - The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization). She

The Death And Dying Practices Of The Australian Aborigines

3519 words - 14 pages The Death and Dying Beliefs of Australian AboriginesAlthough the Aborigines are often classified as a primitive race whose religion is based upon animism and totemism like the American Indians, the Aboriginal funeral practices and beliefs about death have much in common with other cultures. This paper will discuss the death and dying beliefs of the Aborigines that share a common thread with many popular religions of today. Aboriginal beliefs in

Psychology Paper Death And Dying

785 words - 3 pages opinion, I feel death is like a party or a special event. It is marked on an official record the date of birth and date of death. Family and friends all gather around. They comfort each other, while others laugh and joke at the good old times that were shared with that individual. It brings the family together and this is sometimes the only time they may gather with one another. My feelings towards this is, if it wasn't for a family member dying