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Death as a Fateful Moment? The Reflexive Individual and Scottish Funeral Practices

By Gleny Caswell

Abstract

Death is considered by some commentators to be problematic for the inhabitants of a late modern era, so that when individuals are confronted by death they revert to using traditional institutions and practices. This paper draws on sociological research exploring Scottish funeral practices to consider whether this is the case, or whether individuals are able to employ a process of self-reflexivity even when they are planning the funeral of someone about whom they cared. Two funerals are described in the article, and the suggestion is made that their organisers behaved some of the time as reflexive individuals as well as also making use of the traditional authorities of modernity, such as the family and church.Abstract Systems; Death; Fateful Moments; Reflexive Individual; Scottish Funeral Practices; Self-Reflexivity; Traditional Institutions

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