# Modernity, Self-Identity and the Sequestration of Death

Mellor, Philip A., Shilling, Chris (1993) Modernity, Self-Identity and the Sequestration of Death. Sociology, 27 (3). pp. 411-431. ISSN 0038-0385. (doi:10.1177/0038038593027003005) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:38509)

 The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication) Official URLhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0038038593027003005

## Abstract

Throughout its establishment and development sociology has been concerned almost exclusively with problems of life, rather than with the subject of death. However, if we take seriously Peter Berger's (1967) point that death is an essential feature of the human condition that requires people to develop means of coping with it, then to neglect death is to ignore one of the few universal parameters in which social and individual life are constructed. In this paper we examine the relationship between self-identity, the sequestration of death, and the period Anthony Giddens terms late' or high modernity', and argue that the organisation and experience of death have become increasingly privatised. This has acquired particular significance as a result of three central characteristics of high modernity: the growing role played by the reflexive re-ordering of biographical narratives in the construction of self-identity (Giddens 1991); the increased identification of the self with the body; and the shrinkage of the scope of the sacred. This is not to argue that people lack survival strategies when dealing with death, but that these strategies become increasingly precarious and problematic in the conditions of high modernity.

This artice was selected as a BSA 60th Anniversary Key Article.

Item Type: Article 10.1177/0038038593027003005 death, religion, modernity, self-identity, the body H Social Sciences Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social ResearchFaculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Social Policy Mita Mondal 27 Feb 2014 12:17 UTC 06 Feb 2020 04:09 UTC https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/38509 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes) https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2930-9223