Changing Breton Responses to Death Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Based on field work conducted in Brittany, France, during 1983 and 1984, this article discusses changes in Breton responses to death which have accompanied modernization and economic development in this region. It is suggested that familiarity with death and acceptance of it are being replaced by the “denial of death” characteristic of contemporary Western culture. This is indicated by such changes as the disappearance of the wake in urban centers, the discontinuation of mourning customs, and the increasing tendency to hospitalize the dying. Parallel changes have occurred in the domain of religion and folk-belief. Contemporary Breton worldview is marked by a rigidification of the boundaries dividing the natural from the supernatural, and the world of the living from that of the dead.

publication date

  • February 1988