Death and Dying in Central Appalachia: Changing Attitudes and Practices

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University of Illinois Press, 1994 - 247 pages
James Crissman explores cultural traits related to death and dying in Appalachian sections of Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and West Virginia, showing how they have changed since the 1600s. Relying on archival materials, almost forty photographs, and interviews with more than 400 mountain dwellers, Crissman focuses on the importance of family and "neighborliness" in mountain society.

Written for both scholarly and general audiences, the book contains sections on the death watch, body preparation, selection or construction of a coffin or casket, digging the grave by hand, the wake, the funeral, and other topics. Crissman then demonstrates how technology and the encroachment of American society have turned these vital traditions into the disappearing practices of the past.
 

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Death and dying in central Appalachia: changing attitudes and practices

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Crissman (sociology, Illinois Benedictine Coll.) presents a scholarly investigation of the funeral customs of the Central Appalachian region. The author maintains that the isolation and ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Familism Neighborliness and the Death Watch
9
Preparation of the Body
22
Burial Receptacles and Grave Digging
42
The Wake
66
The Funeral Service
77
Burial Customs
99
Grave Markers and Other Forms of Memorialization
118
Funeralizing and Memorial Traditions
145
Dying Death and Central Appalachian Music
156
Mining Disasters and Death
183
Summary
200
Notes
209
Bibliography
233
Index
245
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