Death, like sexuality, is ever present but was rarely discussed before the 1960s. Since then there has been a growing discourse in the social sciences and helping professions about how to discuss the social construction of death. Dying and death in a society reflect the material and social conditions of that society. In turn, the society and culture in which we live influences what we think and do about dying and death. Similarly, dying is both a personal experience and a social role given shape and meaning by social practices and cultural definitions. The bereaved grieve and mourn in both personal and social terms, and the meaning assigned to dying and death is both personally and socially constructed. This new edition of Dying and Death in Canada is designed for students who wish to learn about dying and death, for practitioners who work with the dying and the bereaved, for the dying and the bereaved themselves, and for the general public. Part I explores the causes of dying and death in Canada both historically and at present. Part II examines the collective constructions of-that is, the social and cultural response to-dying and death in Canada. Part III discusses dying and death from the personal points of view of the dying and the bereaved.
Herbert C. Northcott is Professor of Sociology at the University of Alberta. Donna M. Wilson is Professor of Nursing at the University of Alberta.