Handbook of the Sociology of Death, Grief, and Bereavement : A Guide to Theory and Practice book cover
1st Edition

Handbook of the Sociology of Death, Grief, and Bereavement
A Guide to Theory and Practice

ISBN 9781138201071
Published May 3, 2017 by Routledge
404 Pages

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Book Description

The Handbook of the Sociology of Death, Grief, and Bereavement sets issues of death and dying in a broad and holistic social context. Its three parts explore classical sociology, developments in sociological thought, and the ways that sociological insights can be useful across a broad spectrum of grief-related topics and concerns. Guidance is given in each chapter to help spur readers to examine other topics in thanatology through a sociological lens. Scholars, students, and professionals will come away from the handbook with a nuanced understanding of the social context –cultural differences, power relations, the role of social processes and institutions, and various other sociological factors – that shape grief experiences.

Table of Contents


Foreword – Dr. Bob Bendiksen, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse



The editors

The contributors



Sociological Foundations

Introduction to Part One

  1. Emile Durkheim
  2. Michael Brennan, England, UK

  3. Max Weber
  4. Jodie Croxall, Wales, UK and Michael Brennan, England, UK

  5. Marxism
  6. Neil Thompson, Wales, UK

  7. George Herbert Mead
  8. Gerry R. Cox, USA

  9. Erving Goffman
  10. Gerry R. Cox, USA

  11. Women’s Contributions to Classical Sociology
  12. June Allan, Australia


    Sociological Developments

    Introduction to Part Two

  13. Michel Foucault
  14. Neil Thompson and Eryl Owen, Wales, UK

  15. Pierre Bourdieu
  16. Neil Small, England, UK

  17. Existentialism
  18. Neil Thompson, Wales, UK

  19. Continuing Bonds
  20. Dennis Klass, USA

  21. An Egalitarian Perspective
  22. Darcy Harris, Canada

  23. Disenfranchised Grief
  24. Neil Thompson, Wales, UK and Kenneth Doka, USA


    Contemporary Issues and Debates

    Introduction to Part Three

  25. Dark Tourism
  26. Erin Dermody, Canada

  27. Aging and Ageism
  28. Sue Thompson, Wales, UK

  29. Alcohol and Other Drug Use
  30. Wulf Livingston, Wales, UK

  31. Culturally Competent Practice
  32. Neil Thompson, Wales, UK

  33. Toward a Sociology of Terrorism
  34. Gerry R. Cox, USA and Neil Thompson, Wales, UK

  35. Is Grief a Disease? The Medicalization of Grief by the Psy-Disciplines in the 21st Century
  36. Leeat Granek, Israel

  37. Being-in-the-World of the Sociological Imagination: Understanding Living with and Beyond Cancer
  38. Jan Pascal and Olivia Sagan, England, UK

  39. Death, Grief, and Virtual Connections: The Role of Social Media for Social Support and Memorialization
  40. Kathleen R. Gilbert, USA

  41. Infertility and Loss: Conception and Motherhood in the Era of Assisted Reproductive Technology
  42. Iris Po Yee Lo and Celia Hoi Yan Chan

  43. The Demise of Accountability in Public Services: A Dilemma Exemplified by the Hidden Sepsis Crisis
  44. Paul Stepney, Finland

  45. The Role of Religion and Spirituality in Grieving
  46. Neil Thompson, Wales, UK

  47. A Cultural Sociological Review of Chinese Funeral Rituals

Sharon Chan and Amy Chow, Hong Kong, China

Afterword – Dr. Inge Corless, USA



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Neil Thompson, PhD, DLitt, is a writer and online tutor and a visiting professor at Wrexham Glyndŵr University, Wales, where he teaches on the MSc Advanced Practice in the Human Services.

Gerry R. Cox, PhD, is professor emeritus of sociology/archaeology and former director of the Center for Death Education and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse.


"A fascinating and important departure from conventional thinking on death, grief, and bereavement, this collection of essays extends our understanding via a sociological lens, opening up for inspection issues such as culture, gender, and place. As such, this book is a magnificent tour de force in its scope and depth, embedding a fresh disciplinary analysis to this field of study." – Professor Charlotte Williams, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

"This is an astoundingly valuable book that combines a depth of knowledge and insight with genuine accessibility for readers who may be exploring these issues for the first time. Its international scope and the broad range of topics make it a must read for academics, researchers, practitioners, and students. Expertly edited by two internationally respected authors, this book not only fills many gaps in the existing literature: it opens up new and thought-provoking areas of debate." – Bernard Moss, Emeritus Professor, Staffordshire University, England

"An innovative, insightful, comparative and compelling handbook on issues associated with death, grief and bereavement grounded through sociological intersections. This handbook is a leader in its field and deserves to be widely cited given its authenticity and impact."– Professor Jason Powell, University of Chester, England