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A national research on Death, Dying and Disposal in Italy. Attitudes, Behaviours, Beliefs, Rituals

The project aims to fill a wide gap in Italian sociological research by studying death and dying in Italy. It intends to gather for the first time – in a systematic manner comparable with other countries – information and knowledge about the beliefs, attitudes and behaviours of Italians in regard to death and dying. This research is inquiring when and with what frequency death is present in the experiences of Italians, how they cope with it, who takes care of the dying person, and who surrounds him/her. End-of-life farewells, funeral rites and ceremonies, will be analyzed along with the actors involved, including survivors and the funeral industry, the disposal of bodies after death, and burials. A further objective of this project is the study of loss, mourning, forms of communication and the construction of postmortem bonds with the deceased, the management of memory, its spaces and times. Finally, analysed will be beliefs relative to death, the final stages of life, and the afterlife. The impact of the project will be primarily scientific, as it will be the first systematic research on dying and death in Italian society. From this ensues, however, an important impact of a social nature on categories of people involved in the study, both the general public and specific beneficiaries.

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