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

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

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 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

Sociology of Health and Illness

2181 words - 9 pages changing. It is argued that, currently, medical sociology is both taking note of contemporary theory of class and contributing to it. This is occurring largely through an attempt to incorporate the concept of time. Health is a characteristic where time cannot be ignored: the sociology of health is concerned with birth and death, ageing and the life course, becoming ill and getting better, moving through both personal and historical trajectories

Sociology of Health and Illness

2508 words - 10 pages Sociology of Health and Illness The sociological approaches focus on identifying the two sociological theories. We critically analysed the biomedical model and doctor patient relationship. We also evaluated how the medical professionals exercise social control and medical professional’s contribution to ill health. The difference between society and health is studied by sociologist in relation to health and illness. This also discusses

The Whos and Whats of Sociology

1636 words - 7 pages 1. The study and science of Sociology is a comparitively new pursuit, as opposed to the general sciences such as physics, archeology and chemistry, that is now being used to explain and help improve our way of life and behaviour. Many benefits are derived from the study of sociology; understanding the social dynamics within communities or certain groups give clarity on why problems and conflicts arise within them, and how those can be solved

Sociology of Racial and Cultural Groups

1501 words - 6 pages Three sociological perspectives used in the study of minorities are: Structural functionalism, symbolic interactionalism and conflict theory. These perspectives offer "theoretical paradigms" for explaining how society influences people, taking into account the social factors that impact on human behavior. However, different theories, ideas, and prejudices can influence a sociologist's conclusions. Each of these theories has a contribution

Similar Essays

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

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

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

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