Article Information

DEATH STUDIES: THE FORMATION OF AN INTERDISCIPLINARY FIELD (2010–2020)

Sergey Mokhov a (svmohov.hse@gmail.com), Daria Milenina b

a Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

b Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences. Moscow, Russia

Citation: Mokhov S., Milenina D. (2021) Death Studies: osobennosti formirovaniya distsiplinarnogo polya (2010–2020) [Death Studies: The formation of an interdisciplinary field (2010–2020)]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 24(2): 212–235 (in Russian). https://doi.org/10.31119/jssa.2021.24.2.8

Abstract. Death studies (an umbrella term which is used to describe an interdisciplinary field of research on death and dying) have been rapidly gaining popularity during the last 50 years. As an interdisciplinary field, death studies have been faced with issues connected with defining the boundaries of the field, forming a unified research language, methodology and tools. Therefore, it is not clear, what subjects and issues death studies deal with, and, on the larger scale, what death studies actually are. The authors aim at answering these questions through the detailed analysis of publications of three leading academic journals on death and dying (Death Studies, Mortality and OMEGA) during the last decade (since 2010). The authors analyze major themes, disciplines, authors’ affiliations and citations. As a result of the analysis the authors make following conclusions: 1) grief and bereavement is the most popular topic of research on death and dying; 2) there is a predominance of psychological research in the field; 3) the field is considerably closed within itself in terms of academic discussion, whereas academic knowledge on death and dying is mostly in demand in psychology and medicine; 4) there is a difference between journals in their choice of research topics, authors affiliations and geography. Overall, according to the authors, modern death studies are characterized by two polar trends: a tendency towards researching practical issues connected with dying (maintained by Death Studies journal) and a shift towards sociological and cultural research (published mainly in Mortality journal). OMEGA journal occupies an intermediate position.

Keywords: death studies, death and dying, professional networks, analysis of publications, academic journals.

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