The abject body in requests for assisted death: symptomatic, dependent, shameful and temporal

Annette Street, David Kissane

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The debates and drama around euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide death are not new (Stolberg 2007). They have raged for years in many industrialized countries confronted with an aging population, the escalation of health costs and an increase in the medicalization of the dying process. These deliberations on assisted death have been conducted on a number of fronts: issues of personal versus social rights (Bishop 2008); questions of theological, ethical or moral significance (Bishop 2008); decisions on medical authority and community values (Byk 2007, Chapple, Ziebland et al. 2006, Franklin, Ternestedt et al. 2006, Ziegler 2009); disputes on the scope of medical intervention, nursing practice and palliation (Miller, Hedlund et al. 2006) and explorations of statements of desire for death (Hudson, Kristjanson et al. 2006, Hudson, Schofield et al. 2006). The discourses that animate these debates are constructed and defended from within social, moral, religious and medical and ethical positions that situate the person requesting assistance to die, either as an autonomous site of human rights, or as someone whose personhood needs medical, nursing, psychological and spiritual care (Melin-Johansson, Odling et al. 2008, Terry, Olson et al. 2006). Missing from these perspectives is a public acknowledgment of the embodied experiences of the person requesting euthanasia and the effects that the decaying, disintegrating, dependant body-self has on the dying person.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAbjectly Boundless
Subtitle of host publicationBoundaries, Bodies and Health Work
EditorsTrudy Rudge, Dave Holmes
Place of PublicationOxon UK
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781317186168
ISBN (Print)9780754679103
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

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