By Allan Kellehear
Our stories of death were formed via historic principles approximately loss of life and social accountability on the finish of existence. From Stone Age principles approximately loss of life as otherworld trip to the modern Cosmopolitan Age of death in nursing houses, Allan Kellehear takes the reader on a 2 million 12 months trip of discovery that covers the key demanding situations we are going to all ultimately face: waiting for, getting ready, taming and timing for our eventual deaths. it is a significant evaluation of the human and medical sciences literature approximately human demise behavior. The ancient strategy of this booklet areas our contemporary photographs of melanoma demise and remedy in broader ancient, epidemiological and worldwide context. Professor Kellehear argues that we're witnessing an increase in shameful varieties of death. it isn't melanoma, middle affliction or clinical technological know-how that offers glossy death behavior with its maximum ethical checks, yet particularly poverty, growing older and social exclusion.
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Extra info for A Social History of Dying
This particular practice is an exception to the rule and one that Frazer observes is a turning point in the economic sensibilities of hunter-gatherers. Grave goods, according to Frazer (1913a: 149), are a wasteful economic loss when they go beyond the token or symbolic because they cater to ‘imagined interests of the dead’ over the ‘real interests of the living’. Nevertheless, the interment of significant grave goods, that is, grave goods that have genuine economic and social value, is an unequivocal sign that the discharge of inheritance obligations was towards the dying and not from the dying towards the living survivors.
Instead, these social processes were dependent on survivors to perform on behalf of the dead. The dead may have been ‘given’ a ‘dying’ by the surviving kin or group members. 26 THE STONE AGE Whatever the cosmology of beliefs and rituals that such a post-death dying process might have entailed, we can say that from a modern dying person’s perspective there was an absence of self and therefore of self-control over the dying process by the moribund. However, this is only partly true and only in a specifically personal way.
Cannibalism may have been practised for population control, for food, for religious reasons or for dominance (Fernandez et al. 1999). We simply don’t know for sure. Cannibalism may have been practised at least 800 000 years ago but how widespread this might have been is also unknown (Walker 2001). But once again, it should be noted that cannibalism also occurs among a variety of mammals, insects and birds as well as among our primate brothers and sisters (Fernandez et al. 1999: 592). So in a broader context of animal kingdom activity it can be seen as fairly typical business, if not common.