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Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatría

Print version ISSN 0034-7450


CAYCEDO BUSTOS, Martha Ligia. Death in Western Culture: Anthropology of Death. rev.colomb.psiquiatr. [online]. 2007, vol.36, n.2, pp.332-339. ISSN 0034-7450.

Background: Death appears to be a paradigmatic example of what could be called a “social fact”. We know it takes place in a social context, in function of organizations, professional definitions of social roles, interactions and social meanings. The meaning of death is defined socially and the nature of the funeral rituals, of bereavement and mourning reflect the influence of the social context where they occur. So, different cultures tackle the problem in different ways. Objective: To reflect on the meaning death has in contemporary western culture and analyze the process of mourning expressed in a rural community in contrast to what happens in an urban one. Method: Narrative review of the literature on the subject. Conclusion: It is necessary to take advantage of all the human capabilities: To cure when possible, to console and support when it is not, and to find a meaning in all these experiences, recognizing our dependency and need of others.

Keywords : Death; grief; therapy.

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