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Dying the "bad" death : what Foucault's concepts of discourse and power say about death in the US today

Author: Elizabeth Aileen Mason; University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Department of Philosophy.
Publisher: ©2013.
Dissertation: M.A. University of North Carolina at Charlotte 2013
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript   Archival Material : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Despite reporting in national surveys to prefer a gentle and peaceful death at home and surrounded by family, most people spend their last days and hours in an intensive care or hospital setting. Dying in this type of hospitalized setting is referred to as dying 'badly, ' or the 'bad death.' It's not the way people say they want their lives to end, but this is how many people exit this world every day. This is the
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Details

Material Type: Thesis/dissertation, Manuscript
Document Type: Book, Archival Material
All Authors / Contributors: Elizabeth Aileen Mason; University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Department of Philosophy.
OCLC Number: 864752425
Description: 72 leaves : illustrations ; 29 cm
Responsibility: by Elizabeth Aileen Mason.

Abstract:

Despite reporting in national surveys to prefer a gentle and peaceful death at home and surrounded by family, most people spend their last days and hours in an intensive care or hospital setting. Dying in this type of hospitalized setting is referred to as dying 'badly, ' or the 'bad death.' It's not the way people say they want their lives to end, but this is how many people exit this world every day. This is the unpleasant reality, or the 'truth' of the hospital death. Much of what French sociologist, historian, and philosopher Michel Foucault had to say about power, and to a lesser degree, bio-power (the concern of enhancing and/or extending life), combined with the varying roles of social discourse, can be invoked to explain and interpret much of the conflict and tension surrounding death and dying in the US today. Since illness and dying was taken over institutionally by the rise of modern hospitals and clinics in the last century, death became a private matter. Public death rituals have disappeared. Many in our society have forgotten how to approach death or even talk about it, and many Americans face it totally unprepared as to how to deal with death and respond to dying, when it draws near. This thesis considers the issue of American death and dying and the status quo of hospital deaths, along with the resistance and alternate 'truth' now being offered by hospice and palliative care, all within the context of Foucault's concepts of power dynamics and societal discourse interpretations. His thoughts on discourse, power and.

Resistance, as well as elements of bio-power explain the events and changes that have culminated to establish the typical hospital death as 'bad, ' and the rise of hospice and palliative care as an alternative option, or counter-power, which resists the status quo and promises opportunities for experiencing a 'good death.'

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