This inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary research and publications project aims to create a forum for examining the links between living and dying, and some of the contradictions and paradoxes which arise that we appear to accept without question.
Areas of interest focus on different kinds of dying and death, the experience of carers and health care workers, the changing role of medicine, palliative care, the work of the hospice movement, the work of the funeral industry, and the nature of grief and mourning. The project also explores the philosophical, ethical, and legal issues which surround the processes of dying and death, the role of religion, and the diverse range of historical, social, and cultural perspectives and practices.
Papers, presentations, reports and workshops are invited on any of the following indicative themes:
contradictions and paradoxes; indicative examples include sudden death vs our ability to postpone death; horror at genocide vs our appetite for films about ending lives in violent ways; cremation vs internment; pain management vs our reluctance to facilitate death. * dealing with and responding to different kinds of death and dying, for example, suicide, homicide, neonatal and infant death, violent death, natural disasters, sudden death, terminal illness, capital punishment, acts of terrorism; death of a child, parent, spouse; old age and death. * technology, dying and death; the impact of advances in medical technology; types of medical technology; post war social and cultural expectations of medical possibilities; the double-edged sword - technology as helper vs technology as killer (e.g., lethal injection, mass killing). * Institutions, dying and death; problems of ageing populations; ageing and dying; care homes vs waiting rooms for death; hospitals and the limits of responsibility; intensive care; palliative care; the hospice movement; limits to the humanising of death; whose decisions? * Issues confronting health care workers: 'fateful moments'; full disclosure; genetics & stem cell research as these relate to potentially terminal illnesses; emotion management; unacknowledged euthanasia; alternative/complementary health care practices and therapies; the value of aggressive treatments for dying patients. * legal issues in dying and death; legal definitions of death, court rulings and decisions, the right to die, natural death and brain death statutes, advance directives and living wills; organ donation; organ transplantation. * philosophical and ethical issues in dying and death; the nature of dying and death (e.g., does an aborted foetus die?), philosophies of dying and death, personal identity and sense of self, euthanasia and the notion of 'dying well', death by choice, informed consent, truth-telling, 'autonomy', 'dignity', and related issues; understanding, justifying and/or condoning death (e.g., suicide); what is the difference between seeking death and facing death bravely? Is death to be feared more than living or vice versa? Choosing death in order to kill others. The fear of death & contemporary risk discourses. * the management of dying and death; understanding the processes of dying; first person issues ('I've been told I have two weeks left to live') and the context and needs of the individual; second person issues ('You've got two weeks left to live') and the role and place of family, friends and carers; communication and interaction with professionals; third person issues ('his funeral is on Thursday') and the question of who deals with death. The management of and changes within the funeral industry; funeral practices across cultures; funerals, cards and wakes; the loss of ritual; the sanitization of death; the hiddenness of death. * who deals with bereavement? Religious and non-religious counselling; bereavement, grief, and loss; the nature of grief, 'models' and theories of grief, 'stages' of grief and the grieving process; can grief be shared? Grief counselling and grief therapy; forms of remembrance, sites of remembrance. * religious issues; concepts of afterlife and their influence on the dying, rituals and practices in religious communities, theologies of death, near death experiences; the role of hope. * the representation of dying and death in media - art, cinema, music, radio and television; the portrayal of dying and death in all forms and types of literature; death and dying in children's literature; children's concepts of mortality; the importance of narrative.
Perspectives are sought from those engaged in: * anthropology, art, creative writing, English literature, history of medicine, law and legal studies, media studies, medicine, nursing, the performing arts (dance, music, theatre), philosophy and ethics, psychology and social psychology, social history and social sciences, sociology, social work, theology and religious studies * interested members of the public who have personal experience of terminal illness and/or death; care providers, care workers and care volunteers; GP's, geriatricians, oncologists, nurses, social workers; health care professionals involved in palliative care, medical ethics etc.; funeral directors and services; health and social services, health professionals, hospice workers, members of the judiciary, legal professionals, police and law enforcement agencies, mental health professionals, monumental masons, policy makers, government and non-governmental organisations, clerics and members of religious traditions.
Papers will be considered on any related theme. 300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 4th July 2003. 8 page draft conference papers should be submitted by Friday 24th October 2003. Abstracts should be submitted to Dr Rob Fisher via email.
Abstracts should be submitted by email in Word, WordPerfect, PDF or RTF formats; alternatively the abstract may be placed in the body of the email.
The conference is the second in an annual series of research projects, run under the banner 'Making Sense Of:' Other 'Making Sense Of:' projects include 'Making Sense of: Issues at the Beginning of Life' and 'Making Sense of Health, Illness and Disease'. It aims to create working 'encounter' groups between people of differing perspectives, disciplines, professions, and contexts.
An ISBN eBook and themed hard copy volume are in preparation from the first conference. All papers accepted for and presented at this conference will be published in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers accepted for and presented at the conference will be published in a hard copy themed volume(s).
For further details and information, please contact Dr Rob Fisher via email or visit the project website.
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