Rights, rituals and resources: similarities and differences in welfare support for funerals

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Abstract

This paper examines and compares how a range of western or ‘westernised’ nations regard and approach the economic dimension of death in terms of the costs of laying their members to rest in a customary, ritualised and meaningful manner. Drawing on a Sun Life Direct funded research project conducted in 2012 into welfare provision for funerals, the paper will examine the way in which people who struggle to pay for a funeral are supported in a variety of countries. Countries in the study include Britain, Canada, United States, France, Germany, Greece, Irish Republic, Italy, Spain Denmark, Norway and Sweden, Switzerland and Japan. Presented in terms of Esping-Anderson’s conceptualisation of different welfare regime types, the paper considers the nature and role played by social welfare provision in ensuring that dead people are properly cared for, according to their own and/or their survivors’ wishes. In so doing, it identifies similarities and differences between countries with regard to the nature and extent of social support for those who are unable to afford the expense of a funeral without incurring significant debt, with a view to generating an international dialogue on the intersection of funeral ritual, culture, policy and finances.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventMortality, Death and Dying: philosophical and social perspectives - Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 22 Aug 201224 Aug 2012

Conference

ConferenceMortality, Death and Dying: philosophical and social perspectives
CountryFinland
CityHelsinki
Period22/08/1224/08/12

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    Woodthorpe, K. (2012). Rights, rituals and resources: similarities and differences in welfare support for funerals. Abstract from Mortality, Death and Dying: philosophical and social perspectives, Helsinki, Finland.