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Personal profile

Research interests

I was a freelance scholar from 1975 - 1994, writing books on the treatment of young offenders, religion and society, landscape, unemployment, social security, basic income, and the concept of need.

On re-entering academia in 1994, I worked as Lecturer, then Reader, in Sociology at the University of Reading. Since 2006, I have been Professor of Death Studies at the University of Bath, including four years (2011-15) as director of the Centre for Death & Society www.bath.ac.uk/cdas. At both universities I set up and directed a Masters course in Death & Society.

Since the early 1990s, my writing and lecturing have focussed on developing a sociological understanding of death in modern society. In this, I have collaborated with colleagues in religious studies, history, archaeology, linguistics, psychology, geography, computer science, medicine, social work, and gerontology. Research areas have included: 

  • funerals
  • pilgrimage
  • afterlife beliefs
  • personal bereavement and public mourning
  • the portrayal of death in the news media
  • collective memory
  • human remains in museums
  • end of life care and neo-liberalism
  • discourses of spirituality
  • social networks at the end of life
  • mediations between the living and the dead
  • how the internet shapes dying and grieving.
  • the role of angels in mourning
  • space and place

I am currently writing a book for Sage on death in the modern world, focusing on national and cultural differences, and another for Routledge on relationships between the living and the dead in the twenty first century.

I also help Civil Ceremonies Ltd http://www.civilceremonies.co.uk/  and the Church of England to provide funeral training.

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Tony Walter is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 2 Similar Profiles
Grief Medicine & Life Sciences
Bereavement Medicine & Life Sciences
death Social Sciences
grief Social Sciences
dying Social Sciences
funeral Social Sciences
Religion Medicine & Life Sciences
England Medicine & Life Sciences

Projects 2012 2015

family member

Research Output 2000 2019

6 Citations (Scopus)
104 Downloads (Pure)

End of life care: A scoping review of experiences of Advance Care Planning for people with dementia.

Jones, K., Birchley, G., Huxtable, R., Clare, L., Walter, J. & Dixon, J., 1 Apr 2019, In : Dementia: the international journal of social research and practice. 18, 3, p. 825-845 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

Grief, funeral fees and coffin calendar girls: life in death studies

Troyer, J., Valentine, C., Walter, T. & Woodthorpe, K., 2019, The Times Higher Education.

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

The Pervasive Dead

Walter, J., 2019, In : Mortality. 24, 4, p. 389-404 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Body Remains


Arnold, J. C. & Walter, J., 2018, The Routledge Companion to Death and Dying. Christopher, M. (ed.). Abingdon: Routledge, p. 352-361 10 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Dealing with substance-related deaths

McKell, J., Valentine, C. & Walter, J., 2018, Families bereaved by alcohol or drugs. Valentine, C. (ed.). London: Routledge, p. 143-163 21 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


British churches, participation and community development

Author: Scofield, J., 1 May 2011

Supervisor: Walter, J. (Supervisor), Room, G. (Supervisor) & Devine, J. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Feasting with Death: A Study of Funeral-Food Practices

Author: Graham, J., 16 Oct 2017

Supervisor: Troyer, J. (Supervisor) & Walter, J. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Going to Funerals in Contemporary Britain: The Individual, the Family and the Meeting with Death

Author: Bailey, T., 31 Dec 2013

Supervisor: Walter, J. (Supervisor) & Tuckwell, K. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The Grief of Nations: An analysis of how nations behave in the wake of loss: does it constitute grief?

Author: Malamah-Thomas, A., 1 Jul 2011

Supervisor: Walter, J. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The management of historic cemeteries by friends groups: Local narratives and the sense of place

Author: Jolly, G., 21 Feb 2014

Supervisor: Forsyth, M. (Supervisor) & Walter, J. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisMPhil