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Palgrave Macmillan

The Social Construction of Death

Interdisciplinary Perspectives

ISBN 9781137391902
Publication Date August 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Thanatological research in the social sciences and the humanities acknowledges that death is culturally and socially embedded. The idea of the social construction of death has been taken on board, albeit slowly, by the social and cultural study of death, but explicit reflections on the underlying ontologies and epistemologies of this paradigm remain scarce. This edited volume aims to strengthen the paradigmatic reflections about the social construction of death in thanatology and contribute to a theoretical reinforcement of the field. It also puts death and dying more explicitly on the agenda of social constructionist and social constructivist research in general, arguing that the study of death is important for these approaches. The thirteen contributions gathered in this volume, written by well-established scholars from a variety of disciplines (including sociology, anthropology, media and cultural studies, and political sciences), theorise the social construction of death and dying, and deploy it to analyse a wide variety of meaning-making practices in societal fields such as ethics, politics, media, medicine and family.
This book contains a chapter that is available open access under a CC BY license.

Leen Van Brussel is a PhD candidate at Communication Studies Department of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB- Free University of Brussels), Belgium. Funded by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), she studies the discursive construction of the good death in the Belgian press.

Nico Carpentier is Associate Professor at the Communication Studies Department of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB - Free University of Brussels), Belgium, and Lecturer at Charles University in Prague. He is also an executive board member of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) and he was vice-president of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) from 2008 to 2012.

Introduction; Leen Van Brussel And Nico Carpentier
1. A Discourse-Theoretical Approach To Death And Dying; Leen Van Brussel
2. Studying Illness And Dying Through Constructivist Grounded Theory; Linda Liska Belgrave And Kathy Charmaz
3. Feeling Bodies: Analysing The Unspeakability Of Death; John Cromby And Adele Phillips
4. Representations Of Corpses In Comtemporary Television; Tina Weber
5. Ladies' Choice? Requested Death In Film; Fran Mcinerney
6. The Expertise Of Illness: Celebrity Constructions And Public Understandings; Daniel Ashton
7. Death, Fantasy, And The Ethics Of Mourning; Jason Glynos
8. Ethics, Killing And Dying: The Discursive Struggle Between Ethics Of War And Peace Models In The Cypriot Independence War Of 1955-1959; Nico Carpentier
9. On The Deathly Construction Of Society; Arnar Árnason
10. From Theft To Donation: Dissection, Organ Donation And Collective Memory; Glennys Howarth
11. Digital Objects Of The Dead: Negotiating Electronic Remains; Margart Gibson
12. 'This In-Between': How Families Talk About Death In Relation To Severe Brain Injury And Disorders Of Consciousness; Celia Kitzinger And Jenny Kitzinger OPEN

Arnar Árnason, University of Aberdeen, UK
Daniel Ashton, Bath Spa University, UK
Nico Carpentier, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
Kathy Charmaz, Sonoma State University, USA
Joachim Cohen, Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO), Belgium
John Cromby, Loughborough University, UK
Margaret Gibson, Griffith University, Australia
Jason Glynos, University of Essex, UK
Glennys Howarth, Plymouth University, UK
Jenny Kitzinger, Chronic Disorders of Consciousness Research Centre, UK
Celia Kitzinger, Chronic Disorders of Consciousness Research Centre, UK
Linda Liska Belgrave, University of Miami, USA
Fran McInerney, Australian Catholic University and Mercy Health, Melbourne, Australia
Adele Phillips, Birmingham University UK
Leen Van Brussel, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
Tina Weber, Technical University Berlin, Germany


"The Social Construction of Death: Interdisciplinary Perspectives provides the reader with a very interesting and valuable interdisciplinary study of death through social constructionism. The edited volume is a display of how the use of a single paradigm (in this case social constructionism/-ivism) can be a valuable way to carry out interdisciplinary research." - Communications (2015)
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