Social death occurs when the social existence of a person or group ceases. With an individual, it can occur before or after physical death. Scholars in a wide range of disciplines have applied the concept to very diverse issues - including genocide, slavery, dementia, hospitalisation, and bereavement. Social death relates to social exclusion, social capital, social networks, social roles and social identity, but its theorising is not united - scholars in one field are often unaware of its use in other fields.
This is the first book to bring a range of perspectives together in a pioneering effort to bring to the field conceptual clarity rooted in empirical data. Preceded by an original theoretical discussion of the concept of social death, contributions from the UK, Romania, Sweden, and Israel analyse the fourth age, end of life policies, dying alone at home, suicide, photographs on gravestones, bereavement, and the agency of dead musicians. This book was originally published as a special issue of Contemporary Social Science.
Foreword 1. What is social death? 2. Agency in the context of social death: dying alone at home 3. Social death and the moral identity of the fourth age 4. Social death in end-of-life care policy 5. Post-mortem social death - exploring the absence of the deceased 6. To resist or to embrace social death? Photographs of couples on Romanian gravestones 7. (Social) Death is not the end: resisting social exclusion due to suicide 8. The agency of dead musicians
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