The Centre for Death and Society (CDAS) is part of Bath University and was set up in September 2005. Yes, 10th birthday this year!
CDAS carries out research on all aspects of death, dying and bereavement… how we deal with mortality and face death and loss, how society ‘does’ death and the rituals around it, how policy-makers deal with death and regulate, relationships between the living and the dead, the impact of death on our lives, poverty and death, inequalities, technology, culture.
The Centre for Death and Society monthly newsletter is a great resource for what’s happening. (Sign up for it.)
Each year, CDAS holds a conference, welcoming academics from across the world, people who work in different aspects of life-death, funeral industry professionals, artists, commentators and more. In 2013, Barbara, Founder of Final Fling did a presentation on the theme The Commodification of Death and Dying, exploring who sells what and how we behave as consumers around death… very different to our normal consumer habits. “It’s a fantastic gathering over a couple days of people who want to explore, understand, share ideas. A great programme of speakers with fascinating topics and some friendly social gatherings for networking. Really one of the warmest and most riveting conferences I’ve ever been too. And of course, it’s in the delightful setting of Bath, so Professor Tony Walter, the Centre’s Director even took us on a guided tour of the city.”
Members of CDAS have expertise in a range of social sciences, a broad network of associates from complementary disciplines and professions and a rich community of doctoral students.
The Centre for Death and Society aims “to be at the heart of national and international debate and networks” and “aim for intellectual creativity, rigour in our research, and to engage – as relevant – with industry, the professions and government.” And they’re doing a fine job of it. They produce a useful monthly e-newsletter, run seminars and the annual conference. They host the editorial office of the inter-disciplinary journal Mortality.
Just to whet your appetite more, here are some of the research topics the team specialise in:
- The internet and social networks at the end of life
- The role of angels in contemporary mourning
- The illicit, global trade in human tissues and body parts
- Death and architecture
- Identity transformation following loss
- Learning and sensemaking in times of change and upset
- Formal and informal networks of care
- Pain in older people
- Continuing professional development for health and social care practitioners
- Funeral Directing in the 21st century
- How bereaved individuals make sense of ‘bad’ deaths
- Funeral costs and social inclusion
- Professionalisation and the death-care workforce
- Memorialisation and grief behaviour