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soc246 notes class 12.doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Martha Shaffer

Sociology of AgingClass NotesFall 2011 Class 12I IntroductionThe reading today Endings by Michael Kearl gives an account of two approaches to death and dying that are prevalent in modern times 1One that is subjective humanistic and philosophicalwhat is the meaning of life and death2Another that is scientific and seeks an objective description of life and deathhebrews sheo this underworld of nothingnesschristianity dantes inferno islam paradise rest and relaxation place of beauty Death was centred around religion and mystical passageways that permeated western life in early centuries II Modernity and deathAccording to the eminent British sociologist Anthony Giddens the hallmark of modernity is its purchasing of ontological security through institutions and routines that protect us from direct contact with madness criminality sexual1ity nature and death Modernity represents the exclusion of social life from fundamental existential issues which raise moral dilemmas for human 2beings Hes saying that institutions have created a distance in reality Ex a building in which we pump in air and control the sterile environment we are very much separated from nature which is what Giddens is trying to say institutions do to our existential reality1 Anthony Giddens Modernity and SelfIdentity Stanford CA Stanford University Press pg 1562 Ibid
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