The Last Dance: Encountering Death and Dying

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  • Edition: 6th
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2001-07-18
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages
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The best-selling textbook in the field, "The Last Dance" offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of death and dying. Integrating the experiential, scholarly, social, individual, emotional, and intellectual dimensions of death and dying, the seventh edition of this acclaimed text has been thoroughly revised to offer cutting-edge and comprehensive coverage of death studies. Together with its companion volumes, this new edition of "The Last Dance" provides solid grounding in theory and research, as well as practical application to students' lives.

Table of Contents


Prologue, by David Gordon

1. ATTITUDES TOWARD DEATH: A CLIMATE OF CHANGE / Factors Affecting Familiarity with Death / Expressions of Attitudes toward Death / The Present Milieu: Death Attitudes and Awareness / Examining Assumptions / Further Readings

2. PERSPECTIVES ON DEATH: CROSS-CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL / Death in Early and Traditional Cultures / Death and Dying in Western Culture / Four Cultural Case Studies / Rediscovering the Commemoration of Death / Further Readings

3. LEARNING ABOUT DEATH: THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIOCULTURAL FORCES / A Mature Concept of Death / Sociocultural Influences on Our Understanding of Death / Death in Contemporary Multicultural Societies / The Mature Concept of Death Revisited / Further Readings

4. HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS: PATIENTS, STAFF, AND INSTITUTIONS / Modern Health Care / Care of the Dying / The Patient-Caregiver Relationship / Stress in the Helping Professions / Being with Someone Who Is Dying / Further Readings

5. FACING DEATH: LIVING WITH LIFE-THREATENING ILLNESS / Personal and Social Meanings of Life-Threatening Illness / Coping with Life-Threatening Illness / Treatment Options and Issues / The Dying Trajectory / The Social Role of the Dying Patient / Further Readings

6. MEDICAL ETHICS: DYING IN A TECHNOLOGICAL AGE / Fundamental Ethical Principles / Informed Consent to Treatment / Choosing Death: Euthanasia and Allowing to Die / Defining Death / Considering Ethical Issues in Medicine / Further Readings

7. SURVIVORS: UNDERSTANDING THE EXPERIENCE OF LOSS / Bereavement, Grief, and Mourning / Models of Grief / The Experience of Grief and Mourning / Variables Influencing Grief / Coping Mechanisms for Survivors / Bereavement as an Opportunity for Growth / Further Readings

8. LAST RITES: FUNERALS AND BODY DISPOSITION / Psychosocial Aspects of Last Rites / The American Funeral / Selecting Funeral Services / Body Disposition / Making Meaningful Choices / Further Readings

9. THE LAW AND DEATH / Legal Issues in the Public Arena / Organ Donation / Death Certification / The Coroner and the Medical Examiner / Autopsies / Wills and Inheritance / Probate / Life Insurance and Death Benefits / Further Readings

10. DEATH IN THE LIVES OF CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS / Early Childhood Encounters with Death / Development of the Understanding of Death / Children with Life-Threatening Illness / Children as Survivors of a Close Death / Helping Children Cope with Change and Loss / Further Readings

11. DEATH IN THE LIVES OF ADULTS / Parental Bereavement / Death of a Parent / Spousal Bereavement / Aging and the Aged / Further Readings

12. SUICIDE / Comprehending Suicide / Explanatory Theories of Suicide / Some Types of Suicide / Risk Factors Influencing Suicide / Lifespan Perspectives on Suicide / Contemplating Suicide / Suicide Notes / Suicide Prevention, Intervention, and Postvention / Helping a Person Who Is in Suicidal Crisis / Further Readings

13. RISKS OF DEATH IN THE MODERN WORLD / Risk Taking / Accidents / Disasters / Violence / War / AIDS and Other Emerging Diseases / Coping with Risks / Further Readings

14. BEYOND DEATH/AFTER LIFE / Traditional Concepts about Life After Death / Jewish Beliefs about Death and Resurrection / Hellenistic Concepts of Immortality / Christian Beliefs about the Afterlife / The Afterlife in Islamic Tradition / Death and Immortality in Eastern Religions / Secular Concepts of Immortality / Near-Death Experiences: At the Threshold of Death / Death Themes in Dreams and Psychedelic Experiences / Beliefs about Death: A Wall or a Door? / Further Readings

15. THE PATH AHEAD: PERSONAL AND SOCIAL CHOICES / The Value of Exploring Death and Dying / New Directions in Death Education / Death in the Future / Living with Death and Dying / Postscript and Farewell

Epilogue, by David Gordon


Credits and Sources

Name Index

Subject Index

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