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Title: A sociological exploration of funeral practices in three Scottish sites : tradition, personalisation and the reflexive individual
Author: Caswell, Glenys
ISNI:       0000 0004 2677 627X
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis presents an account of a sociological research project exploring funeral practices in Stornoway, Inverness and Edinburgh carried out during 2007.  While practices are rooted in Scotland’s Presbyterian past, changes have been occurring over the past decades, and the project explored these changes from the perspective of the reflexive individual and detraditionalisation as described by Giddens (1990, 1991, 1996).  Practices in Stornoway remain traditional, with funeral worship that focuses on God, and community involvement in the conduct of the funeral.  On the mainland, however, funerals show signs of detraditionalisation and personalisation which frequently occur at the suggestion of funeral professionals employed.  This happens through a focus on the deceased during the funeral, commonly through the inclusion of a tribute to the deceased and the playing of music the deceased liked.  The research was carried out using qualitative methods, and involved participant observation at four funerals and the analysis of documents such as In Memoriam notices.  The main research technique employed however was unstructured interviews, involving ministers of religion, humanist funeral celebrants, funeral directors, crematorium staff and a small number of bereaved individuals who had arranged funerals.  Bereaved informants were recruited with the sensitivity of the topic firmly in mind, and the ethical stance taken was informed by the British Sociological Association’s guidelines on ethical practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Funeral rites and ceremonies ; Funeral sermons