Department of Social & Policy Sciences, Unit Catalogue 2006/07
SP50149 Sociology of death
| Credits: 6 |
| Semester: 1|
* To present students with a systematic understanding of sociological approaches to death, dying and bereavement.
* To enable students to recognise and critically reflect upon the specific contributions and limitations of various sociological approaches
* To enable students to apply sociological perspectives in their own practice and/or discipline.
Students will be able to
* Critically reflect upon the contributions and limitations of sociological interpretations of social aspects of dying, death and bereavement.
* incorporate sociological understanding into their own disciplinary background or professional practice.
* Develop skills to critically reflect on the suitability of sociological approaches for investigating and analysing problems.
* Systematically synthesise information for a relevant understanding of theoretical and practical approaches.
* Identify and access relevant information sources.
* Communicate complex issues and perspectives effectively.
* Develop skills of time management, workload prioritisation and related planning skills.
* Develop good writing and presentation skills.
The unit will introduce a number of key concepts in the sociology and social anthropology of death:
1. Death as a unifier of social groups versus death as a tool in the exercise of power and control
2. The concept of liminality, and whether death rituals reverse rather than reflect everyday social processes
3. The concept of pollution
4. Cultural studies vs ethnographic approaches to the study of death. (Case study: mourning Diana)
5. The use and misuse of ideal types in the study of death. (Case studies: Ariès, Walter)
6. The denial of death thesis and its critics
7. The medicalization of death
8. The transformatiom of death into a media image
9. Social theory and death (e.g. Baudrillard, Bauman, Berger)
10. Death as independent variable: the mortality revolution and its consequences