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Dying and Death in North America

by (author) Herbert Northcott & Donna Wilson

University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division
Initial publish date
Jan 2001
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2008
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2001
    List Price

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Published Under the Garamond Imprint


Dying and death reflect the material and social conditions of societies. For example, dying and death come frequently and early in life in a society where there is widespread poverty. In contrast, dying and death typically come late in life in a more developed society'such as Canada at the beginning of the twenty-first century. How we live influences how and at what age we die; similarly, dying is both a personal experience and a social function given shape and meaning by social practices and cultural definitions. The bereaved grieve and mourn in both personal and social terms and the meaning assigned to dying and death is both personally and socially constructed.


This book is written for students who wish to learn about dying and death, for practitioners who work with the dying and the bereaved, for the dying and the bereaved themselves, and for the general public. The first part explores the causes of dying and death in Canada both historically and at present. The second part examines societal and cultural responses to dying and death, and the third part discusses dying and death from the personal points of view of the dying and the bereaved. The entire book has been thoroughly revised and updated, integrating the most recent theory and literature on death and dying.


Herb Northcott is Professor of Sociology at the University of Alberta. He is the author of Aging in Alberta (Detselig, 2005). 


Donna M. Wilson is in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta. She does extensive clinical work and research on the issue of end-of-life care. 

About the authors

Herbert C. Northcott teaches in the Sociology Department at the University of Alberta, Edmonton.

Herbert Northcott's profile page

Donna M. Wilson is a professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta.

Donna Wilson's profile page

Other titles by Herbert Northcott

Other titles by Donna Wilson