Mors Britannica: Life Style & Death Style in Britain Today

ISBN : 9780199644971

Douglas J. Davies
448 ページ
169 x 240 mm

A people's lifestyle is one thing, their death-style another. The proximity or distance between such styles says much about a society, not least in Britain today. Mors Britannica takes up this style-issue in a society where cultural changes involve distinctions between traditional religion, secularisation, and emergent forms of spirituality, all of which involve emotions, where fear, longing, and a sense of loss rise in waves when death marks the root embodiment of our humanity. These world-orientations, evident in older and newer ritual practices, engage death in the hope and desire that love, relationships, community, and human identity be not rendered meaningless. Yet both emotions and ritual have an uneasiness to them because 'death' is a slippery topic as the twenty-first century gets under way in Britain. In this work, Douglas J. Davies draws from a largely anthropological-sociological perspective, with consideration of history, literature, philosophy, psychology, and theology, to provide a window into British life and insights into the foundation links between individuals and society, across the spectrum of traditionally religious views through to humanist and secular alternatives. He considers memorial sites (from churchyards to roadside memorials); forms of corporeal disposal (from cremation to composting); and death rites in a range of religious and secular traditions.


1. Theoretical Perspectives
2. Beliefs and Valued Memorials
3. Ritual and Body Disposal
4. Christian and Secular Death Rites
5. Salvation, Folk Wisdom, and Spirituality
6. Grief, Media, and Social Emotions
7. Military, Sports, Celebrity deaths
8. Wayfaring mortality, Fear, and the Good Death
9. 09 Death-styles and Life-style
10. Woodland Burial


Douglas J. Davies is Professor in the Study of Religion at Durham and Director of the Centre for Death and Life Studies. He trained in both anthropology and theology and has taught the study of religion for many years both at Nottingham and Durham Universities. His specialist interests and many publications include work on death, funerary ritual, and afterlife beliefs, as well as the Mormon and Anglican religious traditions and theoretical questions of the links between anthropology and theology, with a special interest in how the human desire for meaning becomes a sense of salvation.