A Social History of Death and Dying on BBC4

Death plays chess in The fine psychology blog “Mind Hacks” reports that the BBC4 program Thinking Allowed has produced an episode on the social history of customs surrounding to death and dying. They write:

A guest on the show is sociologist Prof Allan Kelehear who discusses his book A Social History of Dying  (ISBN 9780521694292) that charts how changes in the physical process of death have meant our social customs have altered to better make sense of new forms of dying….

Kelehear argues that as we have become better at predicting death, even through the modern times, we’ve developed ways of preparing for our imminent demise, both socially and psychologically.

The other guest is sociologist Prof Bridget Fowler who has analysed obituaries through the ages to answer the question, ‘who have we considered worthy of an obituary?’…

Unsurprisingly, obituaries have typically been concerned with the deaths of the upper classes, but she notes that their style is changing and has become somewhat more democratic and surprisingly frank in some instances.

About Christopher Green

Professor of Psychology at York University (Toronto). Former editor of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. Creator of the "Classics in the History of Psychology" website and of the "This Week in the History of Psychology" podcast series.