Death is at once a universal and everyday, but also an extraordinary experience in the lives of those affected. Death and bereavement are thereby intensified at (and frequently contained within) certain sites and regulated spaces, such as the hospital, the cemetery and the mortuary. However, death also affects and unfolds in many other spaces: the home, public spaces and places of worship, sites of accident, tragedy and violence. Such spaces, or Deathscapes, are intensely private and personal places, while often simultaneously being shared, collective, sites of experience and remembrance; each place mediated through the intersections of emotion, body, belief, culture, society and the state. Bringing together geographers, sociologists, anthropologists, cultural studies academics and historians among others, this book focuses on the relationships between space/place and death/ bereavement in 'western' societies. Addressing three broad themes: the place of death; the place of final disposition; and spaces of remembrance and representation, the chapters reflect a variety of scales ranging from the mapping of bereavement on the individual or in private domestic space, through to sites of accident, battle, burial, cremation and remembrance in public space. The book also examines social and cultural changes in death and bereavement practices, including personalisation and secularisation. Other social trends are addressed by chapters on green and garden burial, negotiating emotion in public/ private space, remembrance of violence and disaster, and virtual space. A meshing of material and 'more-than-representational' approaches consider the nature, culture, economy and politics of Deathscapes - what are in effect some of the most significant places in human society.
'This remarkable, genuinely inter-disciplinary collection examines the spaces, places and landscapes of death and bereavement in western societies. Elegantly written and impeccably researched, these essays underline how western attitudes to death are geographically constituted. Deathscapes provides an unflinching, unsentimental and often moving commentary on the last great taboo of the modern age.' Mike Heffernan, University of Nottingham, UK 'Deathscapes is more than the sum of its interdisciplinary parts. It describes living with death, locating burial spaces and negotiating sites of mourning while linking historical and contemporary funerary trends across wide geographical tracts. This imaginative collection builds a powerfully integrated picture of human mortality. Experts and the curious will not be disappointed.' Douglas J. Davies, Durham University, UK 'This multidisciplinary collection presents important new insights into the spaces and places of death and dying. Bringing together theoretically and empirically rich approaches to subjects as varied as near death experiences, green burial and memorial art, the editors provide an indispensable guide to the inevitable.' Joyce Davidson, Queen's University, Canada 'Students and scholars will find this book a useful and thought-provoking addition for the spatial study of death and dying... [The contributors are] fully interdisciplinary, including scholars from sociology, public health, anthropology, history of art and architecture.' Area 'I congratulate the authors and editors on their contribution to the field of necrogeographical scholarship. This volume in particularly provides some interesting discussions and raises some critical points about an unavoidable part of life (and therefore planning) that is rarely considered.' Australian Planner 'This book will definitely be successful in attracting more people to the important topics of geographies of death, dying and remembrance. It is convincing as it gives