Is death becoming a commodity?

A conference run by our Centre for Death and Society will, this weekend, address the commodification of death.

At the core of its 2013 conference, the Centre argues that there is a constantly evolving relationship between commodification and human death.

The conference will examine the commodity values attached to organs and body parts, dying, digital death, memorialisation, dark tourism, funeral practices, funeral costs, bereavement, and graves and cemeteries.

Dr John Troyer said: “Through this conference we aim to bring together, perhaps for the first time, the often fragmented research and knowledge on commodification in these areas and to examine links between commodification in these areas and elsewhere in society.

“Much of the commodification associated with death is around guaranteeing peace of mind for those affected and helping with arrangements at what can be a very difficult time. However there are also many other ways in which death is commodified and these have been fast developing in recent years.

“Through the conference we hope to form new research proposals and collaborations that will allow us to explore and better understand this field.”

This international gathering will include social scientists; death studies researchers; scholars of culture, media and literature; bioethicists; economists; health and care professionals; consumer advocates; funeral directors; and theologians.

The Centre for Death & Society Conference 2013 will take place from the 29 to 30 June 2013 at the Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institute. For more information about the conference please see the CDAS website.


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Dr John Troyer in Jordan Baseman's 'Deadness' exhibition, May 2013

CDAS Seminar: Death's Playlist - music at contemporary funerals, August 2013

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