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The study of the phenomenon of somatic death.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the division of medical, biological, and clinical disciplines that studies the immediate causes of death as well as thanatogenesis, or the clinical and morphological manifestations and dynamics of dying. Thanatology also studies medical intervention in the death process to revive the organism or alleviate the death agony.

A distinction is made between general and specific thanatology. General thanatology studies the overall death process, and specific thanatology studies the terminal state associated with different diseases and different causes of death. Specific thanatology involves a consecutive study of data on the course of the given disease, on the hereditary and constitutional predispositions to the disease, and on the clinical and morphologial manifestations of the disease. On the basis of these data, the clinical and anatomical epicrisis, or thanatological analysis, is made. The epicrisis is particularly important in forensic medicine and forensic thanatology.

In relation to the growing importance of the discipline of reanimatology, the field of experimental thanatology has developed. Experimental thanatology studies the cessation or restoration of the body’s vital functions during the terminal state. Clinical and experimental studies have established that the basic terminal pathogenetic factor in all forms of the death process is hypoxia, a state involving the accumulation of incompletely oxidized products in the cells and tissues. These studies have also demonstrated the important role played in the death process by the impairment of nervous function and of the hormonal, enzymatic, and ionic equilibriums.


Shor, G. V. “Tanatologiia (uchenie o smerti) pod uglom zreniia patologicheskoi anatomii.” In Trudy I Vserossiiskogo s”ezda patologov. Moscow, 1924.
Negovskii, V. A. “Osnovnye itogi patofiziologicheskogo izucheniia protsessov umiraniia i ozhivleniia organizma.” Arkhiv patologii, 1962, vol. 24, no. 7.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In order to fully comprehend the quality of Roth's thanatological critique, one should therefore keep in mind that it is paranoia--and not desire--that acts as the driving force behind Sabbath's ethos of erotic subversion.
or Freddy Thorne may not prove skillful enough to produce an almost complete forgetfulness of their thanatological origins (which, of course, was their aim all along).
The originality of Philip Roth's reflection on thanatological objectification thus resides in his novel's resistance to the Manichaean explanations of traditional victim-perpetrator schemes.
This is why his unlikely combination of Sadean, American, and Jewish ideological gestures ultimately demonstrates the inevitability of thanatological fetishization.
The root of ideological violence, understood in this manner, seems to lie in the denial of thanatological failure.
Both, in fact, have to be seen as thanatological projects of salvation and are, as such, equally subject to the charge of violent repressiveness.
According to Roth's novel, then, mutual victimization is inherent in any contest of thanatological systems of salvation.
Reading only the masterful violence that must attend any thanatological effort to make sense and not the mortal pain that no authoritarian representation will ever be able to exorcise, feminist thanatology indeed seems to take "male" subjectivity at its word, claiming the success of a mastery that the conquering subject frequently enough cannot bring himself to believe in.
Attachment styles can be viewed as parallel to the grief reactions described in the thanatological literature (Fraley & Shaver, 1999; Parkes, 2001; Shaver & Tancredy, 2001), such that persons with particular attachment patterns may be more vulnerable to particular grief-related difficulties.
Her journey is circular: from empty (erotic) passion to empty (thanatological) passion.
In science, "the conspiracy of silence" about death was broken long ago, which is evidenced by an abundance of thanatological publications that analyze death from various perspectives, both research and theoretical ones.
This is what makes the idea of a hospice a highly regarded model of care of the dying persons, both in thanatological literature and in medical sociology itself [34-39].