Money and death: the consumption of bereavement services


Woodthorpe, K., 2009. Money and death: the consumption of bereavement services. In: Ninth International Conference Social Context of Death, Dying and Disposal (DDD9), 2009-09-09 - 2009-09-12.

Related documents:

This repository does not currently have the full-text of this item.
You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided below. (Contact Author)


This paper considers the relationship between consumption, identity and death through an exploration of the UK cemetery industry and suggests that cemetery users and the staff often negotiate multifarious – and possibly conflicting – identities. Drawing on an ethnography of a large cemetery in London, the paper examines the ways in which the purchasing of services provided by the cemetery are negotiated by the user/client and the staff/provider, arguing that there are many uncertainties for both as they navigate their consumer/broker identities. Caught up in the requirement for the cemetery to be financially sustainable, staff are under pressure to attract ‘business’, which can sometimes conflict with a personal desire to empathise with the bereaved. At the same time, bereaved people purchasing S88 DDD9 Abstracts Downloaded By: [University of Bath Library] At: 09:17 5 March 2010 services in the cemetery can be both vulnerable and savvy consumers – sometimes simultaneously – needing/demanding kindness and understanding and/or value for money and a high quality product. The paper argues that tension surrounding the purchasing of services in the cemetery and uncertain identities as bereaved consumers/business-related brokers reflects a widespread ambiguity surrounding the relationship between money and bereavement and is indicative of a societal uneasiness about a close relationship between commercialism and death overall.


Item Type Conference or Workshop Items (Paper)
CreatorsWoodthorpe, K.
DepartmentsFaculty of Humanities & Social Sciences > Social & Policy Sciences
Research CentresCentre for Death and Society
ID Code18058


Actions (login required)

View Item