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Funerals have long been of interest to social scientists. Previous sociological work has examined the relationship between individuality, belief and tradition within funeral services, founded on the assumption that public rituals have psycho-social benefit for organisers and attendees. With the introduction of direct cremation to the UK, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on funeral service attendance in 2020 and 2021, critique of this assumption is now needed. Drawing on interviews with recently bereaved people who organised a direct cremation in late 2017, this article illustrates how compromise, control and consistency are key drivers for not having a funeral service. The article argues that a declining importance in the fate of the body and a move towards ‘invite-only’ commemorative events represents a waning need for social support offered by a public, communal funeral service. In turn, this indicates a sequestration, or privatisation, of the contemporary funeral.
|Number of pages||18|
|Early online date||6 Sept 2021|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jun 2022|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
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