Death, Modernity, and the Body - Sweden 1870-1940

Hardback
Originally published in Swedish in 2002, Death, Modernity, and the Body explores the impact of modernization on customs and practices of treating the dead body in Sweden in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when intense social and cultural change transformed the country from an agricultural society to a modern industrial state. The book focuses on five arenas: medical research and education, displays of the dead body for entertainment purposes, funerary preparations of the body, memorial photography, and cremation. Ahren takes an original approach to the history of death in modern society by focusing on the dead body in intersecting cultural domains. Medical, scientific and technological history are thereby connected to popular culture, social and political history, as well as ethnography and anthropology. The scholarly literature on the history of death is disproportionately focused on the Anglophone world, France, and Germany; this study contributes to the scholarship by examining the case of Sweden, where modernization was exceptionally rapid and pervasive, and full of interesting particularities. Eva Ahren is a research fellow and assistant professor in the Department for the History of Science and Ideas at Uppsala University, Sweden, and a research associate at Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.