Centre for Death & Society

Life-Centred Funerals


Principal Investigator: Tony Walter

Dates: Ongoing

Project rationale and aims

Funerals are increasingly ‘life-centred’, commemorating the life lived on earth more than helping the soul on its way to heaven. What are the implications for families, for other mourners, for the professionals who co-produce these new ceremonies with families, and for the funeral industry as a whole?


  • Tony Walter (2017) Bodies and ceremonies: is the UK funeral industry still fit for purpose? Mortality 22(3): 193-208. DOI 10.1080/13576275.2016.1205574 ISSN:1469-9885
  • Tony Walter & Tara Bailey (in press) ‘How Funerals Accomplish Family: Findings from a Mass-Observation Study’ Omega.
  • Tara Bailey & Tony Walter (2016) ‘Funerals Against Death’ Mortality 21(2): 149-166.
  • Tony Walter (2016) ‘Judgement, myth and hope in life-centred funerals’ Theology, 119(4): 253-260.
  • Tony Walter (2006) ‘Funerals: the emerging culture of choice’, pp. 4-10 in A Good Funeral, Leveson Paper no.14, Temple Balsall, Solihull: Foundation of Lady Katherine Leveson.
  • Guy Cook & Tony Walter (2005) ‘Rewritten Rites: language and social relations in traditional and contemporary funerals’ Discourse & Society, 16(4): 365-91.


Breathing new life into the funeral business, The Conversation