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Attitudes toward Death - Essay Example

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Attitudes toward Death

It is in the remembrance of a loved one that death event is organised and celebrated, though it is manifested into the colours of grief and sorrow. Rather than confiscation, an 'invisibility' of sorts sets in, items being dispersed or located within secular 'non-death' settings where their significance remains vital only for the bereaved.
The social celebration of death depends upon the relationships death set up as a tool for memory and material culture. Death can be understood as a life crisis which is estimated by some conjuncture of changes where transformations of the physical body, social relations and cultural configurations are set up by the society. A dying experience, death and the response of the society towards death acts as a phase of transition involving loss and adjustment (Peveto & Hayslip, 2005, p. 1), therefore death is treated differently in every culture, religion and race. Examining the ways in which memory comes into play, death provides the opportunity to analyse various aspects of the process of dying, mourning and grief. Facing death, either of the self or of others, has come to entail ritualised social practices that mobilise domains of material objects, visual images and written texts.
In the West death experience is counted towards attending a diverse range of materials, which are not only associated with death in historical and contemporary contexts but are also concerned with the issues of metaphor, temporality, and social space, all of which impinge upon and shape memory as a cultural process and a social experience. The process of recognising death develops anthropological and historical perspectives that we find in memories at work in visual images of death, in textual forms and in rituals which we trace as interconnected fields, related in their focus on the body, its structures, capacities and limits.
We celebrate memory of our loved ones through the material objects that acquire meanings and resonances through embodied practice such as the wearing of mourning attire, or the ritualised writing of wills, together with the material objects that come to represent or form extensions of the body from funeral effigies to photographs (Hallam & Hockey, 2001, p. 1). This takes us into personalised interior spaces and domestic settings as emotional realms of dying, mourning and remembrance. Thus we analyse the 'everyday' contexts of memory making that have received comparatively less attention when we note the sociological and historical work devoted to large scale, public forms of memorial and commemoration.
From contemporary perspectives, death-related objects surviving from earlier times offer the opportunity to reconstruct aspects of memory practices as they were perceived in the past as well as a means of tracing the play of historical reference and allusion in contemporary material cultures of death. Objects serving the practice of memory in the past are, in the context of the present, a resource for the reinterpretation of history. Contemporary social spaces, both public and private, retain a multiplicity of death-related objects that have accrued over time and are now enmeshed in the temporal conjuncture of the present; for example, the furniture, ornaments and crockery of previous generations can, through inheritance, remain in use in the households of surviving relatives. Some of these ...Show more


Orchestrating social event that includes the grief of loosing a loved one is a significant part of our society that is linked up with various factors. In the light of memories and rituals, these factors set up the funeral in communities where memorial construct highly differentiates social identities for the dead…
Author : ottishammes
Attitudes toward Death essay example
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