Graduation Term

3-22-2024

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

School of Communication

Committee Chair

Andrew M Ventimiglia

Abstract

COMMODIFYING THE AMERICAN FUNERAL: IMPACTS ON OUR RITUALS, GRIEF, AND VALUES

REILLY CARD

63 Pages

Death is a universal experience. Everyone will die. With death comes the need to care for the deceased, and the modern solution to caring for the dead is to outsource the work. Today in America the dead are cared for by funeral homes and funeral directors. This study looks at the role commodification plays in the American funeral experiences and, in turn, how that process of commodification impacts the cultural values of the funeral. This study first examines the literature around funerals, rituals, grief and commodification and then provides an analysis of a series of semi-structured narrative interviews with individuals who have recently planned a funeral. The themes discovered through thematic analysis are broken down into two categories: experiences and values. Experiences describe how the events of funeral planning took place and the effects those funeral planning decisions had on the participants. Values touch on the deeper meanings of funerals and what beliefs participants attribute to the funeral. Keywords: funerals, grief, liminality, commodification, qualitative interviews

DOI

https://doi.org/10.30707/ETD2024.20240618063948228561.999986

Page Count

69

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