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Death, Society, and Human Experience

Death, Society, and Human Experience - 8th edition

Death, Society, and Human Experience - 8th edition

ISBN13: 9780205381937

ISBN10: 0205381936

Death, Society, and Human Experience by Robert Kastenbaum - ISBN 9780205381937
Edition: 8TH 04
Copyright: 2004
Publisher: Allyn & Bacon, Inc.
International: No
Death, Society, and Human Experience by Robert Kastenbaum - ISBN 9780205381937

ISBN13: 9780205381937

ISBN10: 0205381936

Edition: 8TH 04

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This landmark text in death education draws on contributions from the social and behavioral sciences as well as the humanities, such as history, religion, philosophy, literature, and the arts, to provide thorough coverage of understanding death and the dying process.

The text focuses on both individual and societal attitudes and how they influence both how and when we die and how we live and deal with the knowledge of death and loss. Robert Kastenbaum is a renowned scholar in the field who developed one of the world's first death education courses and introduced the first text for this market.


  • The author provides a human voice by including stories of real people trying to cope with their own difficult situations, enabling students to examine death from a more human perspective.
  • Includes full chapter on end-of-life issues and decisions (Ch. 7).
  • Discusses sudden and unexpected deaths of famous and admired people such as John F. Kennedy, Jr., and Princess Diana and how these deaths arouse widespread grief and violate society's sense of security and order.
  • Includes topics such as people living with a particular risk like hemophilia, the implications of virtual reality for how we live and die, "suicide-by-cop" and AIDS-related suicide, and how changes in American life have affected the funeral process.
  • Using case examples and exercises throughout the text, students can reflect upon their own experiences with death.
  • Coordinates with the video series "A Personal Understanding of Death," produced by the Annenberg/CPB project. Kastenbaum is the required text for this award-winning series consisting of ten 30-minute video segments, and Allyn & Bacon provides print user guides for students and faculty using both this text and the videos.

New To This Edition

  • Coverage of September 11th examines the effects of terrorist activity (Ch. 1).
  • Expanded presentation of life and death from various world religion perspectives helps students to examine death in a broader context (Ch. 3).
  • Introduces new suggestions for improving the care of the terminally ill by examining several medical, psychological, community, and spiritual perspectives (Ch. 6).
  • Coverage of violent death has been improved and updated in light of the Washington, D.C., area serial killings, presenting students with the most up-to-date examples and research possible (Ch. 9).
  • Increased coverage on brain death and the implications of organ donation (Ch. 3), abortion, assisted death, and euthanasia (Ch. 10) provides students with the most comprehensive text on death and dying on the market.
  • This edition introduces new developments in the cryonics movement in order to promote student comprehension and questioning of overcoming death by technology (Ch. 14).
  • New PowerPoint lecture presentation for instructors is available online.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

1. September 11, 2001 and the American Death System.

2. As We Think About Death.

Not Thinking about Death: A Failed Experiment.
Your Self-Inventory of Attitudes, Beliefs, and Feelings.
Some Answers--And the Questions They Raise.
Humans Are Mortal: But What Does That Have to Do with Me?
Anxiety, Denial, and Acceptance: Three Core Concepts.
Theories and Studies of Death Anxiety.
Accepting and Denying Death.

3. What Is Death? What Does Death Mean?

What Does Death Mean?
Competing Ideas about the Nature and Meaning of Death.
Biomedical Approaches to the Definition of Death.
What Does Death Mean?
Conditions That Resemble Death.
Death as a Person.
Conditions That Death Resembles.
Death as an Agent of Personal, Political, and Social Change.

4. The Death System.

A World without Death.
Basic Characteristics of the Death System.
How Our Death System Has Been Changing--And the "Deathniks" Who Are Making a Difference.
Causes of Death: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.
Basic Terms and Concepts.

5. Dying.Transition from life.

Transition From Life.
What Is Dying and When Does It Begin?
Trajectories of Dying: From Beginning to End.
Healthy People Who Are at Risk: Hemophilia.
Guarded Feelings, Subtle Communications.
Individuality and Universality in the Experience of Dying.
Theoretical Models of the Dying Process.

6. The Hospice Approach to Terminal Care.

Hospice: A New Flowering from Ancient Roots.
Standards of Care for the Terminally Ill.
Establishment of Hospice Programs in the United States.
The Hospice in Action.
Hospice-Inspired Care for a Variety of People.
Does Hospice Care Prevent and Relieve Suffering?
Access to Hospice Care and the Decision-Making Process.

7. End-of-Life Issues and Decisions.

The Living Will and Its Impact.
Right-to-Die Decisions That We Can Make.

8. Suicide.

The Statistical Profile.
Three Problem Areas.
Some Cultural Meanings of Suicide.
A Powerful Sociological Theory of Suicide.
Some Individual Meanings of Suicide.
Facts, Myths, and Guidelines.
Suicide Prevention.

9. Violent Death; Murder, Terrorism, Disaster, and Accident.

Accident and Disaster.

10. Euthanasia, Assisted Death, Abortion, and the Right to Die.

"I Swear by Apollo the Physician": What Happened to the Hippocratic Oath?
Key Terms and Concepts.
Our Changing Attitudes Toward a Right to Die.
The Right-to-Die Dilemma: Case Examples.
Dr. Kevorkian and the Assisted Suicide Movement.

11. Death in the World of Childhood.

Adult Assumptions about Children and Death.
Concepts of Death: Developing through Experience.
How Do Children Cope with Bereavement?
Helping Children Cope with Bereavement.
The Dying Child.
Sharing the Child's Death Concerns: A Few Guidelines.
The "Right" to Decide: Should the Child's Voice Be Heard?

12. Bereavement, Grief, And Mourning.

Defining Our Terms: Bereavement, Grief, and Mourning.
Theoretical Perspectives on Grief.
How Do People Recover from Grief?
Bereavement in Later Life.
Are Bereaved People at Higher Risk for Death?
Limited Support for the Bereaved.
Meaningful Help for Bereaved People.

13. The Funeral Process.

What Do Funerals Mean to Us?
From Dead Body to Living Memory: A Process Approach.
Making Death "Legal."
What Does the Funeral Process Accomplish?
Memories of Our People: Cemeteries in the United States.
The Place of the Dead in Society: Yesterday and Today.
Current Developments: A Funeral Director's Perspective.
Improving the Funeral Process.

14. Do We Survive Death?

Concept of Survival in Historical Perspective.
Near-Death Experiences: New Evidence for Survival?
The Dead as Evidence for Survival.
Should We Survive Death?
But What Kind of Survival?
Your Thoughts on Survival: A Review.
The Suicide-Survival Connection.

15. How Can We Help? The Promise of Death Education and Counseling.

The Promise of Death Education and Counseling.
Death Educators and Counselors: The "Border Patrol."
Death Education in Historical Perspective.
Death Education and Counseling: The Current Scene.
Counseling and the Counselors.
How We All Can Help.

16. Good Life, Good Death. Trying to Make Sense of It All.

Trying to Make Sense of It All.
Horrendous Death.
"The Good Death" : Fantasy or Reality?
From Good Life to Good Death: A Personal Statement.