death and dying
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death and dyingthe cessation of life, which is today medically defined as ‘brain death’. Sociologists have studied death and dying with an interest particularly in the sociocultural differences in the social provision for death and dying as socially managed processes involving the termination of membership of social groups, a form of ‘status passage’ (see also RITES OF PASSAGE). In the UK and some other Western societies, in contrast with previous eras, death has been treated as a taboo subject, with consequent difficulties for those in grief. Accordingly new provisions to cope with death and dying have been introduced, including hospices for the terminally ill, and bereavement counselling.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000