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Death, Society and Human Experience, 11th Edition

By Robert J. Kastenbaum

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Sep 18, 2011

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Providing an understanding of the relationship with death, both as an individual and as a member of society. 


This book is intended to contribute to your understanding of your relationship with death, both as an individual and as a member of society. Kastenbaum shows how individual and societal attitudes influence both how and when we die and how we live and deal with the knowledge of death and loss.  


Robert Kastenbaum is a renowned scholar who developed one of the world's first death education courses and introduced the first text for this market.


This landmark text draws on contributions from the social and behavioral sciences as well as the humanities, such as history, religion, philosophy, literature, and the arts, to provide thorough coverage of understanding death and the dying process.


Learning Goals

Upon completing this book, readers should be able to:

  • Understand the relationship with death, both as an individual and as a member of society
  • See how social forces and events affect the length of our lives, how we grieve, and how we die
  • Learn how dying people are perceived and treated in our society and what can be done to provide the best possible care 
  • Master an understanding of continuing developments and challenges to hospice (palliative care).
  • Understand what is becoming of faith and doubt about an afterlife

Note: MySearchLab does not come automatically packaged with this text. To purchase MySearchLab, please visit: or you can purchase a ValuePack of the text + MySearchLab with Pearson eText (at no additional cost). ValuePack ISBN-10: 0205863515 / ValuePack ISBN-13: 9780205863518

Table of Contents







Chapter 1: As We Think About Death

Chapter 2: What is Death? 

Chapter 3: The Death System

Chapter 4: Dying 

Chapter 5: Hospice and Palliative Care

Chapter 6: End-of-Life Issues and Decisions

Chapter 7: Suicide

Chapter 8: Violent Death: Murder, Terrorism, Genocide, Disaster, and Accident

Chapter 9: Euthanasia, Assisted Death, Abortion, and the Right to Die         




Chapter 1: As We Think About Death

A History of Death?

Not Thinking About Death: A Failed Experiment

Your Self-Inventory of Attitudes, Beliefs, and Feelings

Some Answers – And The Questions They Raise

Man is Mortal: But What Does That Have To DO With Me? 

Anxiety, Denial, and Acceptance: Three Core Concepts 

Studies and Theories of Death Anxiety 

Major Findings From Self-Reports of Death Anxiety 

Theoretical Perspectives on Death Anxiety

Accepting and Denying Death


Chapter 2: What is Death?              

Ideas About The Nature And Meaning Of Death 

Death As Observed, Proclaimed, And Imagined 

Biomedical Approaches To The Definition Of Death 

Event Versus State 

What Does Death Mean? 

Interpretations Of The Death State 

Conditions That Resemble Death 

Death As A Person 

Conditions That Death Resembles 

The Undead 

Death As An Agent Of Personal, Political, And Social


Chapter 3: The Death System           

A World Without Death                

Basic Characteristics Of The Death System 

Components Of The Death System 

Functions Of The Death System 

Disasters And The Death System 

How Our Death System Has Been Changing—And The “Deathniks” Who Are Making A Difference 

Causes Of Death: Yesterday, Today, And Tomorrow 

Basic Terms And Concepts 


Chapter 4: Dying 

The Moment Of Death: Is It Vanishing? 

What Is Dying, And When Does It Begin? 

Trajectories Of Dying: From Beginning To End 

Guarded Feelings, Subtle Communications 

Individuality And Universality In The Experience Of Dying 

Theoretical Models Of The Dying Process 


Chapter 5: Hospice and Palliative Care

Hospice: A New Flowering From Ancient Roots 

Standards Of Care For The Terminally Ill 

Hospice In Action 

Relief Of Pain And Suffering 

Hospice Access, Decision Making, And Challenges 

Dame Cicely Saunder’s Reflections On Hospice 


Chapter 6: End-of-Life Issues and Decisions

From Description To Decision Making 

Who Should Participate In End-Of-Life Decisions? 

The Living Will And Its Impact 

Right-To-Die Decisions That We Can Make 

A Right Not To Die? The Cryonics Alternative 

Organ Donation 

Funeral-Related Decisions 


Chapter 7: Suicide

What Do The Statistics Tell Us? 

Four Problem Areas 

Some Cultural Meanings Of Suicide 

A Powerful Sociological Theory Of Suicide 

Some Individual Meanings Of Suicide 

Facts And Myths About Suicide 

Suicide Prevention 

Emerging Issues And Challenges 


Chapter 8: Violent Death: Murder, Terrorism, Genocide, Disaster, and Accident



9/11/01 And Its Consequences 

Accident And Disaster 


Chapter 9: Euthanasia, Assisted Death, Abortion, and the Right to Die               

“I Swear By Appollo The Physician”: What Happened To The Hippocratic Oath? 

Key Terms And Concepts 

Our Changing Attitudes Toward A Right To Die 

The Right-To-Die Dilemma: Case Examples 

This title is also sold in the various packages listed below. Before purchasing one of these packages, speak with your professor about which one will help you be successful in your course.

Package ISBN-13: 9781323063026

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ISBN-10: 0-205-00108-4

ISBN-13: 978-0-205-00108-8

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