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The Domestication of Death: the sequestration thesis and domestic figuration

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date12/2011
JournalSociology
Journal number6
Volume45
Number of pages16
Pages947-962
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Sociological work on the sequestration of death has taken on some canonical qualities, while secondary discussion has not recognized interesting divergences within it. While drawing on Giddens (1991) provides useful ideas, the work of Elias (1983, 1985, 1994) is an especially helpful means of historicizing, contextualizing and theorizing domestic figuration and its role in responding to the threatening ‘otherness’ of death. Case studies concerning the domestication of death and its ritualized practices are discussed, including representations of the ineffable ‘moment’ of death. Following Elias, a fully-articulated theorization of death needs to be grounded, historicized, comparative; to explore such matters through the lens of domestic figuration; and to deal with the ontological and epistemological issues raised by death with which the bereaved necessarily have to deal.