This is a book about the ways and means through which death is socially organised in the city of Belfast. It is also a book about disease, medicine and the body. Indeed, the comprehension of death in the western world is so inextricably bound up with discourses on medicine and the body that it would be impossible to write a book about the one without extensive reference to the others. The bedrock of this particular study, however, is an analysis of the various responses which were made to 415 deaths which were registered in Belfast during 1981,1 and I have sought to trace the numerous social, medical, legal, religious and (in some cases) political activities which were contingent on those deaths between the moment at which death was pronounced until the moment of disposal. Unlike many contemporary studies, therefore, the present one pays little attention to the study of dying. Instead it attempts to analyse the schemes of knowledge and social practice which the people of Belfast drew on to organise the deaths which fell within their domain.
KeywordsSocial Practice Modern World Human Form Physical Body Human Mortality
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