Arguing that death is the central force shaping our social life and order, Michael Kearl draws on anthropology, religion, politics, philosophy, the natural sciences, economics, and psychology to provide a broad sociological perspective on the interrelationships of life and death, showing how death contributes to social change and how the meanings of death are generated to serve social functions. Working from a social as well as a psychological perspective, Kearl analyzes traditional topics, including aging, suicide, grief, and medical ethics while also examining current issues such as the impact of the AIDS epidemic on social trust, governments' use of death symbolism, the business of death and dying, the political economy of doomsday weaponry, and death in popular culture. Incisive and original, this book maps the separate contributions of various social institutions to American attitudes toward death, observing the influence of each upon the broader cultural outlook on life.
- Publication Date:
- 26 / 10 / 1989