What Death Means Now

Thinking Critically About Dying and Grieving

Tony Walter

What Death Means Now

Tony Walter

Distributed for Bristol University Press

112 pages | 5 x 7 3/4
Paper $19.95 ISBN: 9781447337362 Published September 2017 For sale in North and South America only
Although death is universal, how we respond to it—how we ready ourselves for death and how we grieve—depends on when and where we live. New preparations for dying, new kinds of funerals, new ways of handling grief, and new ways to memorialize are continually evolving, and with them come new challenges. Bringing to bear twenty-five years of work on the sociology of death and dying, Tony Walter engages critically with key questions such as: should we talk about death more and plan in advance? How possible is advance planning as more people suffer frailty and dementia? How do physical migration and digital connection affect the irreducibly material process of dying? Is the traditional funeral still relevant? Can burial and cremation be ecological? And how should we grieve: quietly, openly, or even online?
Contents
Notes on author
Acknowledgements
Introduction
one        What’s the problem?
two        Good to talk?
three     A better way to die?
four       What are professionals good at?
five        Why hold a funeral?
six          How to dispose of bodies?
seven    How to mourn?
eight      Distance and the digital: how to connect?
nine       Pervasive death
References
Index
 
Review Quotes
Mortality
“An insightful and erudite exploration of death and dying, in a manner accessible to a general readership or those with a more specialist background. . . A strength of the text is how it incorporates a necessarily broad and holistic understanding of society’s approach to death and dying. . . An engaging and thoughtful exploration of contemporary Western attitudes towards death and dying.”
Glenys Caswell, University of Nottingham
"Walter brings scholarship and personal experience to this work, resulting in a book which offers a thought-provoking read, suitable for both general readers and those with specialist knowledge."
Colin Murray Parkes, president of Cruse Bereavement Care
"Walter's intelligent and fascinating analysis of dying, disposal, and our continuing relationship with the dead will make us all think again."
Julie Ellis, University of Sheffield
"An essential read. .  . . Accessible, informative, and critical, this pithy book challenges scholars and general readers alike to interrogate popular ideas about contemporary death and dying."
Allan Kellehear, University of Bradford
"In this new work, Walter's encyclopedic and critical gaze has produced another volume of analysis to be reckoned with."
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