THE LAST DANCE CHAPTERS 1-4: Aspects of Grief and Death

MASS MEDIA
agent of socialization that communicates cultural attitudes about death. influences attitudes about death, provides information, creates shared experiences.

EXAMPLES:
primetime television series
nature programs
cartoons
soap operas
sports
westerns
thrillers/slasher films

LANGUAGE
Language- reflects the attitude toward death, indirect terms such as internment, euphemisms which devalue and depersonalize death. reflect how a death event is experienced offer clues about manner of death reveals different attitudes or cultural frameworks.
language: “death talk”
euphemisms
metaphors
slang
sympathy cards
death narratives
MUSIC
Music- themes of loss and death response to tragedy.
dirges
laments
keening
requiem
opera
folk ballads
american blues music
gospel
death metal
rock and roll
rap
patriotic
country
LITERATURE
poetry
elegies
novels
dramas
holocaust
vigilante stories
VISUAL ARTS
symbols, signs, and images
vehicle for expressing personal loss
dance of death imagery
memorials
homemade condolences
war museums
HUMOR
Humor- defuses anxiety about death, communicates social norms and raises consciousness about taboo subjects. reflect how a death event is experienced offer clues about manner of death reveals different attitudes or cultural frameworks.
defuses anxiety
helps us cope
promotes social glue
offers reassurance
maintains balance
encourages empathy
moderates negative life events
communicates messages gently
helps confront fears
“oil of society”
THE RISE OF DEATH ED.
formal and informal instruction about death, grief, and related topics.
PIONEERS IN DEATH STUDIES
anthony, studies of children (1940)
gorer, “pornography of death” (1955)
feifel, apa symposium (1956)
saunders, care of the dying (1959)
fulton, first university course (1963)
glasser and strauss studies (1965 and 1968)
weisman, “birth of teh death-people” in omega initial issue (1966)
kubler-ross, on death and dying (1969)
CONTEMPLATING MORTALITY
DIMENSIONS OF THANATOLOGY
study of facts or events of death social and psychological mechanisms for dealing with death ethical and moral questions cultural considerations
Include:
philosophical and ethical
religious
psychological
sociological
anthropological
clinical
political
educational
practical
DEATH ANXIETY AND FEAR OF DEATH
relationship with death
death anxiety research terror management theory.

higher among females than males and higher among blacks than whites

TERROR MANAGEMENT THEORY
(BECKER) human behavior is mostly motivated by an unconscious fear of mortality. World is terrifying place, keep the terror unconscious perceive threat as struggle against the ultimate evil.
LIFE EXPECTANCY AND MORTALITY RATES
decreases the familiarity with death because people live longer
CAUSES OF DEATH
early 1900s: acute infectious disease with sudden onset and death soon following (e.g., diphtheria).

today: chronic illness typically following a slow progressive course lasting weeks, months, or years (e.g., cancer, stroke).

heart disease and cancer are the two leading causes of death in the United States, accounting for nearly half of all deaths

GEOGRAPHIC MOBILITY AND INTERGENERATIONAL CONTACT
because of social and geographic mobility, people are less likely to be present at the death of relatives or friends.
LIFE-EXTENDING TECHNOLOGIES
advanced medical technology
medicolegal definitions
artificially sustaining life
“medicalization of death”
DEATH IN A COSMOPOLITAN SOCIETY
diversity
pluralism
culteral complexity
social process
global view
values
opinions
practices
“managed death”
EXPLORING YOUR OWN LOSSES AND ATTITUDES
cultural lag”
“death cafes”
ties to our social worlds
lifetime of experiences
lossography
A MATURE CONCEPT OF DEATH
An understanding of death that includes recognition of the observable facts about death–universality, irreversibility, nonfunctionality, and causality, as well as an understanding of personal mortality; that Is, one’s own eventual death
INFANCY AND TODDLERHOOD
Erikson – the child grapple with issues of autonomy versus shame and doubt
~the positive outcome is characterized as will
~developmental leap in their pretend play (a basic form of symbolic thinking)
~exercising independence is a hallmark of this stage
EARLY CHILDHOOD
Erikson – children in this period consider death is something that happens only to the very sick or aged and can be avoided with healthy living and by avoiding situations that are fatal (marks the beginning of a child’s moral sense)
~need to be given accurate information about death and what caused it so they do not draw erroneous conclusions (regression, play reenactment and magical thinking)
~the positive outcome is purpose
EARLY CHILDHOOD
Piaget – characterized as the pre operational period (centers on learning to use language and symbols to represent objects – five to seven year shift)
MIDDLE CHILDHOOD or SCHOOL-AGED PERIOD
Erikson – six years to the beginning of puberty correspond to the stage of industry versus inferiority
~busy in school, interacting with peers in a variety of ways (“I am what I learn”)
~children need details and concrete information to feel a sense of control
~common grief reactions include school and learning problems, phobias or anger
~the positive outcome is competence
MIDDLE CHILDHOOD or SCHOOL-AGED PERIOD
Piaget – concrete operations (child begins to use logic to solve problems and to think logically about things without having to have their relationships demonstrated directly
~the characteristic mode of thought in this developmental period emphasizes real-life situations or concrete instance of a problem, not hypothetical or theoretical problems
~children are likely to be concerned about their own safety and the safety of other family members
ADOLESCENCE
key developmental issues of adolescence are often called the three I’s: identity, independence and intimacy

~a period when young people draw on repertories characteristics of both adulthood and childhood

THE EVOLUTION OF A MATURE CONCEPT OF DEATH
FAMILY
agent of socialization that is the first source of death education

foundational social institution in all societies
~first source of death education in our lives and its influence continues throughout our lives
~lessons about death are learned in the family are converted by actions as well as words
~shape the values and behaviors not only of the child but also of the adults that the child will become; they influence how that adult conveys attitudes toward death to their own children

SCHOOL AND PEERS
agent of socialization that helps the understanding of death is broadened by the child’s social network
MASS MEDIA AND CHILDREN’S LITTERATURE
powerful socializing influence) communicate cultural attitudes toward death to children, when when the message is not purposely directed to them.

~death has often had a place in children’s literature and especially true of the earliest versions of familiar stories

RELIGION
The relative importance of religion in a person’s life as displayed through emotional ties and commitment to the religion, participation in its ceremonies, the degree to which it is integrated in the person’s life, and knowledge about the religion and its traditions, beliefs, and practices .
TEACHABLE MOMENTS
a phrase used by educators to describe opportunities for learning that arise out of ordinary experiences
EXPERIENCES WITH DEATH
THE STRUCTURAL-FUNCTIONALIST APPROACH
emphasizes inter-relationships among major elements of society- includes economy, educational system, family, political systems, and religion; all which are inter-related
SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM
the freedom of individuals to construct their own reality as well as to potentially reconstruct what has been inherited
THE SOCIAL LEARNING APPROACH
people learn social norms through reinforcement, imitation, interaction, and rationalization
ORGIN OF DEATH
Stories told in traditional cultures about how death became part of human experience, usually because of transgression of divine or natural law or because of failure to carry out some crucial action that would have ensured immortality.
CAUSES OF DEATH
condition or circumstance that results in death

early 1900s: acute infectious disease with sudden onset and death soon following (e.g., diphtheria)
today: chronic illness typically following a slow progressive course lasting weeks, months, or years (e.g., cancer, stroke)

POWER OF THE DEAD
NAMES OF THE DEAD
DYING AND DEATHBED SCENCES
Family and friends gathered as participants in the public ritual of a person’s dying
BURIAL CUSTOMS
has been a common practice that in-fact predates the current human forms (Homo sapiens) as it we practiced by several different proto-human forms like the Neanderthals.
CHARNEL HOUSES
An arcade or gallery, usually associated with a church or cathedral, where the bones of the dead were kept after being removed from common graves.
MEMORIALIZING THE DEAD
1) An act of remembrance or commemoration; specifically, an act performed with the aim of honoring and remembering the dead.

(2) The practice of preserving the identity of a person buried in a particular place by recording his or her name on a grave marker.

THE DANCE OF DEATH
INVOLVED WITH Corpses and cadavers

– reflects ideas about the inevitability and impartiality of death
– conveys the notion that, regardless of rank or status, death comes to all people and to each person

INVISIBLE DEATH
A phrase used to describe attitudes toward death in the modern era in which most aspects of dying and death are less public and less part of common experience than in earlier times.
NATIVE AMERICAN TRADITIONS
-Death viewed as natural event, One of the central themes is reverence toward the dead,

– Dead believed to serve as guardian spirits or special envoys to the spirit world,

-Emphasis on “living one day at a time, with purpose, grateful for life’s blessings knowing that it could all end abruptly.

-It’s a good day to die!”, uses Death songs as final act of earthly life, Reverence for bones of ancestral dead

AFRICAN TRADITIONS
-Respect for ancestors

-Death does not extinguish a person’s participation in the life and activities of his family and community.

– Communion with “living dead”

-Attitude toward death is essentially positive

– Reverence for the dead in African culture involves remembering the deceased by name

MEXICAN TRADITIONS
-Themes of death, sacrifice, destiny

– Heightened awareness of death

-Skeleton is a “national totem”
“All of us will one day become dead ones

ASIAN TRADITIONS
-Reciprocity between dead ancestors and their heirs
Fêng-shui used to position the corpse and in placement of cemeteries

– Specific mourning garments worn
Paper offerings burnt for deceased’s use
Ch’ing Ming festival celebrates return of dead ancestors.

-Spirit tablet kept on home altar
Ultimate destination of deceased’s bones is important
An ethnic and cultural mosaic.

-Each group maintains identity while sharing elements of its culture with overall community
Pidgin as shared language

CELTIC TRADITIONS
-Everything alive inhabited by soul or spirit, which can be helpful or harmful.

– Fallen heroes welcomed into Valhalla, a place of heavenly honor and glory.

– Death viewed as a “changing of place”

Exchange of souls between this world and the Otherworld.

– Contact between living and dead, especially during the festival Samhain (Nov 1st)

-Status of deceased indicated by extent and type of grave goods

CHARACTERISTICS OF HAWAII’S PEOPLE
kanikau -a traditional Hawaiian poetic lament, carefully composed or spontaneously created, commemorating a person’s death.
-chanted spontaneously or carefully composed
memories of shared experiences in nature
recall experiences that bind the dead and survivors
message: Not I am bereft without you”, but instead “these are the things I cherish about you.”

-the only region where all racial groups are minorities where the majority of the population has its roots in the Pacific Islands or Asia instead of Europe or Africa

ASSIMLIATION AND ACCOMMODATION IN DEATH RITES
accommodation- A process whereby a new group adapts to the values or customs of a dominant social group by making adjustments that allow for the existing group’s interests.

assimilation- A process whereby the values or customs of a new group are incorporated by a dominant social group so that the values of the new group fit into the existing social network.

DISASTERS
life threatening events that affect many people within a relatively brief period of time, bringing sudden and great misfortune.
REDUCING THE IMPACT OF DISASTERS
COPING WITH THE AFTERMATH OF DISASTER
HURRICANE KATRINA: A CASE EXAMPLE
ASSESING THE HOMICIDAL ACT
The killing of one human being by another. See also manslaughter; murder.

(separated into 2 categories: criminal and noncriminal)

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
The execution of an offender sentenced to death after conviction by a court of law for a criminal offense. See also death penalty
CONVENTIAL SIGNS OF DEATH AND NEW TECHNOLOGY
information and communication
social networking
cyber memorials
crisis text “hot” lines
CONCEPTUAL AND EMPIRICAL CRITERIA
EMPIRICAL- individuals with a mature understanding of death typically hold these ideas. ideas
-not subject to scientific proof-deal mainly with the notion that human beings survive in some form beyond the death of the physical body

CONCEPTUAL-

FOUR APPROACHES TO DEFINITION AND DETERMINATION OF DEATH (4)
1. Irreversible Loss of Flow to Vital Fluids
2. Irreversible Loss of the Soul from the Body
3.Irreversible Loss of the Capacity for Bodily Integration
4. Irreversible Loss of the Capacity for Consciousness or Social Interaction
LEGISLATON DEFINING DEATH
ORGAN TRANSPLANTATION AND ORGAN DONATION
ORGAN TRANSPLANTATION- The transfer of living organs, tissues, or cells from a donor to a recipient with the intention of maintaining the functional integrity of the transplanted tissue in the recipient.

ORGAN DONATION-

MEDICAL ETHICS: A CROSS-CULTURAL EXAMPLE
CERTIFICATION OF DEATH
ways of classifying different modes of death

document that constitutes official registration and legal proof of death by certifying the facts of a death and recording pertinent data about the deceased.

DEATH NOTIFICATION
-announcing a death has occurred. Explanation

-Important elements include timely notification,
control of the physical environment, details of the efforts to save life, explanation of the cause(s) of death, and appropriate emotional support.

-A standardized report giving brief details about a person’s life and published, usually in small type in a single column, in a newspaper after his or her death.

-An account of a person’s life and death printed in a format similar to other feature stories.

THE CORONER AND THE MEDICAL EXAMINER
investigative duties to determined unknown or suspicious modes of death

CORONER- An individual, usually an elected official, whose job it is to conduct investigations into the cause and circumstances of suspicious or sudden deaths.

MEDICAL EXAMINER- A qualified medical doctor, generally with advanced training and certification in forensic pathology, usually appointed to conduct investigations into the cause and circumstances of suspicious or sudden deaths.

AUTOPSIES
A medical examination of a body after death to determine cause of death or investigate the nature of changes caused by disease.
THE IMPACT OF THE DEATH SYSTEM
-The concept of the death system is a helpful model for contemplating how death shapes the social order, and in turn our individual lives.