Religions 2014, 5(1), 165-178; doi:10.3390/rel5010165
Article

The Body in Grief: Death Investigations, Objections to Autopsy, and the Religious and Cultural ‘Other’

1,* email, 2email and 3email
Received: 9 January 2014; in revised form: 5 February 2014 / Accepted: 12 February 2014 / Published: 26 February 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Body and Religion)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: Sudden, violent and otherwise unexplained deaths are investigated in most western jurisdictions through a Coronial or medico-legal process. A crucial element of such an investigation is the legislative requirement to remove the body for autopsy and other medical interventions, processes which can disrupt traditional religious and cultural grieving practices. While recent legislative changes in an increasing number of jurisdictions allow families to raise objections based on religious and cultural grounds, such concerns can be over-ruled, often exacerbating the trauma and grief of families. Based on funded research which interviews a range of Coronial staff in one Australian jurisdiction, this paper explores the disjuncture between medico-legal discourses, which position the body as corpse, and the rise of more ‘therapeutic’ discourses which recognise the family’s wishes to reposition the body as beloved and lamented.
Keywords: body; religion; Indigenous; culture; death; sacred; grief; autopsy; coroner; Australia
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MDPI and ACS Style

Carpenter, B.; Tait, G.; Quadrelli, C. The Body in Grief: Death Investigations, Objections to Autopsy, and the Religious and Cultural ‘Other’. Religions 2014, 5, 165-178.

AMA Style

Carpenter B, Tait G, Quadrelli C. The Body in Grief: Death Investigations, Objections to Autopsy, and the Religious and Cultural ‘Other’. Religions. 2014; 5(1):165-178.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Carpenter, Belinda; Tait, Gordon; Quadrelli, Carol. 2014. "The Body in Grief: Death Investigations, Objections to Autopsy, and the Religious and Cultural ‘Other’." Religions 5, no. 1: 165-178.

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