Socialization of Death-Related Behavior: Environmental Factors and Social Organization

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In light of the proliferation of interest in the areas of death, dying and death-related behavior this work examines two areas related to the socialization of death attitudes in the United States. First, an elaboration of Blauner's seminal work concerning death and social structure is performed. This analysis reveals a social system which has routed the flow of death-related information and experience outside the view of a large portion of the population. The result is a social environment in which the socialization of death attitudes and responsibilities is largely absent. Hence, the structure of the morality environment has contributed significantly to the conceptualization of death as a "taboo topic." Secondly, the new mortality environment is briefly examined with special attention paid to education and its increasing legitimacy as an agent of socialization concerning death-related behavior and attitudes. The paper asks questions of who, what and how information related to death and dying might be presented. (Author)

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This chapter is concerned with mourning ceremonies held for Shiite Muslims in the city of Isfahan, Iran. The chapter examines how in Persian funeral culture “rules of language and society synergize in determining meaning” (Capone A, J Pragmatics 37:1355–1371, 2005: 1357). Grounded in Mey’s (Pragmatics. Blackwell, Oxford, 2001; Pragmatic acts. In: Brown K (ed) Encyclopedia of language and linguistics (Online Version). Elsevier, Oxford, 2006) and Capone’s (La linguistique 46:3–21, 2010) conceptualisation of the pragmeme – a situated speech act – the present study seeks to explain how the talk given and monodies sung by professional panegyrists are supposed to provide solace and comfort to the relatives of the deceased. To this end, I shall draw on a corpus personally collected in the context of the mosque, where relatives and friends typically gather to mourn the deceased. In this respect, I will explain how panegyrists use vague language in such an ‘elastic’ (Zhang G, Elastic language: how and why we stretch our words. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2015) way as to provide solace to the bereaved family. The study reveals how vague forms that lack full semantic content and are thus dependent on shared knowledge are employed by panegyrists to bring about effects that correspond to the requirements of the mourning sessions under investigation.
A historical analysis of the evolution of death education in the classroom over the past 50 years is presented. Scholars, authors, and others who have been influential in the growth of death education as an academic discipline are enumerated. Also discussed are some of the critical issues of the field today and over the next few years.
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