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Preface and Acknowledgments

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 May 2011

Victoria Talwar
Affiliation:
McGill University, Montréal
Paul L. Harris
Affiliation:
Harvard University, Massachusetts
Michael Schleifer
Affiliation:
Université du Québec, Montréal
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Summary

CHILDREN'S UNDERSTANDING OF DEATH: FROM BIOLOGICAL TO RELIGIOUS CONCEPTIONS

This book examines different conceptions of death and their impact on children's cognitive and emotional development. It not only addresses practical and clinical issues related to children's developing understanding of death, but also focuses on theoretical and philosophical aspects linking children's concept of death to religion, morality, politics, and law. The material is drawn from a wide range of disciplines including psychology, anthropology, philosophy, medicine, education, and the law. This collection will be useful for courses in developmental psychology and clinical psychology, certain education courses, and philosophy classes – especially in ethics and epistemology. It will be of particular interest to researchers and practitioners in psychology, medical workers, and educators (parents and teachers).

The first three chapters of the book examine children's conceptions of death in different cultures. All three chapters focus on how children acquire a biological conception of death as well as how they acquire spiritual or religious ideas about an afterlife. Chapter 1, by Rita Astuti, provides an ethnographic account of how Vezo children living in a rural community on the western coast of Madagascar experience animal and human death. She describes how Vezo adults conceive of death and the life of the ancestors, how Vezo children are protected from ancestral threat, and how, as spectators to the rites and rituals that surround a death, Vezo children nevertheless construct an understanding of the ancestral afterlife.

Type
Chapter
Information
Children's Understanding of Death
From Biological to Religious Conceptions
, pp. ix - xii
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011

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