All articles in May 2019's special issue of Bioethics offer profound insights into the issue of "being a burden to others" in relation to wishes to die, which are highly relevant for ethical debates about end-of-life care and physician-assisted dying. In this reply, we wish to stress the importance of acknowledging and analyzing the sociopolitical context of the phenomenon "being a burden" in relation to wishes to die and we will show how this analysis could benefit from a care ethical approach. As discussions in care ethics have made clear, caring practices are both social and political practices. An empirical and ethical analysis of "being a burden" therefore needs to take institutional and societal norms and structures into account, in addition to first-person experiences and concepts such as caring needs, relational autonomy, and interdependency. Besides the relevance of the sociopolitical context for the phenomenon "being a burden" as such, the sociopolitical context also seems relevant for the investigation of the phenomenon, which we will illustrate by reflecting on "being a burden" in relation to the practice of physician-assisted dying in the Netherlands.
This paper explains the healing benefits, the “sweet unexpected” of the title, which results from using poetry to engage trauma, including traumatic grief. The benefits of poetry are presented alongside a discussion of a 22-year-old nonprofit called The Pongo Poetry Project. The sweet unexpected includes the ease with which trauma survivors engage their trauma narrative, the critical insights that emerge in poetry, the beneficial social context of sharing poetry, and the healing benefits of poetry for writers, care providers, and readers alike. The paper concludes by providing resources that can help people use poetry in their own work.
Le moment de la mort est symbolisé par le spectre squelettique de la MORT avec sa faux et son sablier. Le sablier dans la main de la MORT indique que l’heure ne sonne pas avant que la Destinée n’ait été complètement accomplie selon des lois invariables. Le squelette représente la partie du corps relativement durable. La faux rappelle que la partie permanente sur le point d’être moissonnée par l’ESPRIT est la récolte de la vie qui se termine et se traduit par l’expression :
"Ce qu’un homme sème, il le moissonnera."
C’est la loi de cause à effet qui régit toute chose dans tous les domaines de la Nature, physique, mentale, morale.
Qu'en est-il des personnes atteintes de la maladie d'Alzheimer, qui s'éloignent lentement du lien social ? L'auteur, sociologue, soutient que ces malades se désinvestissent du monde en réduisant leurs facultés mentales. Comment la famille et les soignants peuvent-ils les accompagner dans ce détachement du monde ? Le proche ou le soignant, qui prend le temps de regarder la personne atteinte de la maladie d'Alzheimer, la reconnaît alors dans son humanité et recrée ainsi du lien social.
Depuis la seconde moitié du XXe siècle, de nombreux sociologues, anthropologues et historiens, ont souligné le fait que la civilisation occidentale se caractérisait par un "déni social de la mort" et qu'elle procédait ainsi à une occultation dramatique des personnes en fin de vie. La mort et le mourir seraient devenus " tabous " et notre culture jeuniste et consumériste nous inciterait à en détourner nos regards.
Vouloir éloigner le tragique, faire décliner l'importance traditionnellement accordée aux rituels funéraires et au deuil, tel serait un des aspects majeurs de notre culture. Les sciences sociales étaient alors accusatrices : elles dénonçaient le " mal mourir " et faisaient la critique d'un monde où le rapport à la mort avait globalement cessé d'être familier. Ce constat exigeait donc un remède : dès les années 80, se sont développés en France les soins palliatifs et de nombreux débats sur la fin de vie ont fait leur apparition dans l'espace public (notamment la question de l'euthanasie et celle du refus de l'acharnement thérapeutique).
Pour autant, avons-nous aujourd'hui réussi à modifier notre rapport au mourir, à "resocialiser la mort" et à mieux accompagner les personnes en fin de vie ? Avons-nous trouvé les moyens d'enrayer le processus d'occultation de la mort dont beaucoup pensent qu'il est inévitablement pathologique ?
Constantin Reliu had been working for twenty years as a cook in Turkey when he returned to his hometown of Barlad, Romania, to discover that, there, he was dead. His former wife had, unbeknownst to him, at some point during his stay in Turkey registered him as deceased in Romania. He has since been living a legal nightmare trying to prove to Romanian authorities that he is, in fact, alive. Reliu is not alone in finding out that the legal system is not as attuned to physiological activity or biological assessment by doctors in determining death as one might think. If one starts with the assumption that death is a purely biological concept, solely the province of doctors, Reliu's story seems entirely unrelated to the concept of death in the medical context. A brain scan would not lead to a reversal of his being assessed as dead. The story is a reminder, however, that how death is used is not just biological, and therefore that the standard of death even in the clinic must answer to cultural considerations. Values, the law, and custom matter a great deal in determining who is alive and who is not, whether in the courtroom, the coroner's office, or the clinic.
This article elaborates on Robert Kastenbaum’s death system analysis by explaining social change efforts among Ecological Death Advocates (EDAs), a diverse group of designers, scientists, spiritualists, and entrepreneurs who seek to develop more environmentally sensitive and humanistic alternatives to contemporary death management practices. Drawing from online and documentary data, we highlight EDAs claims about problems with conventional death management and the solutions they propose. Specifically, EDAs challenge hyperrationalized and professionalized death management practices by advocating for more ecologically benign approaches that link past traditions with new technological innovations to better align death practices with personal and community needs. We theorize EDA reform efforts as an aspect of “death-system” politics to carve out cultural, economic, and political space for alternative end-of-life decisions that better reflect broad ecological sensibilities and changing attitudes toward death.
Le vieillissement de la population constitue un enjeu de plus en plus présent dans la société et les médias québécois. Souvent présenté sous un jour alarmiste, il est dépeint de façon peu nuancée en occultant la multitude de ses réalités. Pourtant, vieillir ne signifie pas faire rupture avec son passé pour entrer dans une catégorie à part de la population. au contraire, Le vieillissement s’inscrit le plus souvent dans la continuité d’une existence marquée par son individualité et par son appartenance à différents groupes. Les recherches récentes en gérontologie sociale nous mettent en garde contre la propension à réduire l’identité des aînés à la seule dimension de l’âge.
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As digital outlets of expression become increasingly accessible, means of conveying grief and commemorating the deceased have migrated online. Online memorial websites such as UK-based Muchloved.com boasts thousands of Tributes created by the bereaved to remember the deceased. Many of these Tributes sketch out a rough picture of the person commemorated through text detailing their personal lives, professions, hobbies, and accomplishments, as well as photographs capturing intimate moments with family and community, and condolences contributed by family, friends, and community members. This article examines how stories of migration figure in this large pool of digital Tributes. We draw from Moncur and Kirk’s “emergent framework” for the study of digital memorials by analyzing 17 Tributes on MuchLoved.com, which commemorated individuals who, according to these Tributes, migrated from one nation to another. We find that the practices and conventions of memorial-writing to commemorate first-generation immigrants perpetuate narratives of exceptionality.
The present research examines the strength of terror management theory in an indigenous Indian context of religious fair called Magh Mela. It explores how elderly Hindu people deal with death anxiety through practicing Kalpvas in Magh Mela. The research explores the role of social detachment and self-esteem in coping with terror of death. Study 1, a field experiment on 150 Kalpvasis (practitioners of Kalpvas) confirms the significant role of social detachment as an adaptive strategy for coping with death terror. The role of self-esteem did not emerge in the study. Study 2, another field experiment on 62 Kalpvasis confirms results of study 1. Significant role of years of Kalpvas on fear of death shows importance of the religious practices in managing terror related to death. The relation of terror management theory and death anxiety thus follows a different explanation for more indigenous contexts.
Significant changes towards an intimate death take place in the Czech Republic regarding perinatal loss. However, these practices are often initiated by individual actors or civic initiatives. This “intimate presence” of perinatal loss including last rites stands in sharp contrast to absence of structural, institutional changes brought about by politicians or professional organizations towards better hospital or social management of death, bereavement and body disposal. Tensions of expert knowledge and power of biomedical authoritative knowledge form the setting for opposition or negligence coming from the hospital management, birth registers or funeral homes. The article draws on a qualitative sociological inquiry into practices of perinatal loss in the Czech Republic. The fieldwork data entail in-depth interviews with key actors and document analysis inspired by feminist research approach to reproductive loss. The aim is to show and help understand the frictions between emerging more intimate practices of grief, bereavement and last rites related to perinatal loss in the context of Post-Socialist and late-modern paternalised healthcare, medicalisation of life-events and concealment of death. The complexity of Post-Socialist absent or faded away institutionalised humanity regarding death and emerging practices challenging the status quo in perinatal loss treatment open up fruitful field for analytical inquiry.
While people are still alive, we owe them respect. Yet what, if anything, do we owe the newly dead? This question is an urgent practical concern for aged societies, because older people die at higher rates than any other age group. One novel way in which Japan, the frontrunner of aged societies, meets its need to accommodate high numbers of newly dead is itai hoteru or corpse hotels. Itai hoteru offer families a way to wait for space in over-crowded crematoriums while affording an environment conducive to grieving. Drawing on conversations with itai hoteru employees, we delineate the values this contemporary death practice expresses and show how these values comprise part of the broader idea of a good death. A good death implies duties on both sides of death's divide: to both the dying and the newly dead.
Between the years 1500 and 1700, mortality was higher and exposure to death is greater than in the modern day. Through analysis of primary texts from the chosen period, we explored the principles behind the care of the dying in the context of medicine, spirituality, and society. Results showed that a “holy death” was a cultural norm and medicine was subsidiary: hope was for the salvation of the soul, not the body. This was part of an approach that focused on symptom relief, irrespective of disease classification, demonstrating an early holistic approach to death and dying.
Dans la fébrilité du dernier Congrès international sur les soins palliatifs tenu à Montréal en octobre 2018, j'ai eu le privilège de rencontrer Tanguy Châtel. Il a généreusement accepté de répondre à quelques-unes de mes questions à l'intention de nos lecteurs. J'avais l'intuition qu'il aurait beaucoup à dire et que ses propos seraient, comme à l'habitude, sous le signe de l'authenticité de la passion. J'ai été comblé.
Domestic Buddhist altars have long provided symbolically and materially rich media for venerating the dead in Japan. However, as Japanese household structures and funerary rites are unsettled in the contemporary era, Buddhist altars (butsudan) are rapidly being reinvented and digitalized. In this article, we describe the new technologies harnessed in butsudan production, the sensory experiences they offer, and their abilities to both reform and reinforce traditional networks of ancestral obligation. Despite promising death rituals that are more personal, secular, and affordable, the development of digitally enhanced material memorialization is still very much a work in progress in Japan.
According to some specialists, ceremonial funeral practices are inclined to disappear, particularly as death is an object of repression in contemporary society. However, it seems that new forms of rituals are developing through modern technologies. Virtual tombs, memorial webpages, and the celebration of death anniversaries are now common currency on the Internet. Nonetheless, the overexposure favored by the Web seems to question traditional ways of "living out" one's grief, subjecting the living and the dead to a redefinition of concepts of time and space, and entailing new forms of interaction.
In 2009, Lawrence Kutner, a character on television's House, M.D., unexpectedly committed suicide. A Facebook memorial group was created shortly thereafter in memory of the fictional character. A thematic analysis of fan postings on Kutner's Facebook memorial page revealed evidence of people experiencing parasocial grief as they displayed emotional expressions of grief, reminisced, and advocated for Kutner. Through thematic analysis, we discovered that elements of parasocial relationships, particularly parasocial breakups, were apparent as the members posted evidence of their grief over the loss of a television character. Moreover, this parasocial grief is likely to be disenfranchised, as the death of a television character is typically not recognized by others as a legitimate loss. This study also highlighted the role of social media as an outlet for grief as well as revealed confusion between fiction and reality resulting from social media.