Medicalised death: from social process to clinical moment (and back again?)

12 November 2008, 12:15 - 14:00

CRASSH Seminar Room, 17 Mill Lane

Readings (PDFs of readings not available online can be downloaded on the right hand side of this page):

Aries P. (1981) The hour of our death. Translated by Helen Weaver. Oxford: Oxford UP, chap 12. (Available in UL; PDF / photocopy to be circulated)


Cerule K, Ruane JM. (1997) Death comes alive: technology and the re-conception of death. Science as Culture 6: 444-466. (Available in Whipple Library and UL; PDF / photocopy to be circulated).

Illich I. (1990) Limits to medicine. Medical nemesis: the expropriation of health. Harmondsworth: Penguin, chapter 5, 'Death against death', pp 179-211. (Available in Whipple Library and UL; PDF / photocopy to be circulated)

Tercier JA. (2005) The contemporary deathbed: the ultimate rush. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, chapter 1, 'Death with dignity', and chapter 2, 'Cardiopulmonary resuscitation: the protocol', pp 9-47. (Available in Medical Library; PDF / photocopy to be circulated).

 


The Michaelmas Term 2008 sessions explore the relationship between two contentious and closely interleaved subjects: the shifting terrain of cultural and clinical attitudes towards death in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; and the issues raised by new cultures and technologies of human tissue transplantation and sale. Following the work of Philippe Aries, many scholars have criticised the apparent medicalisation of death in the modern West, in which death is constructed not as a physiological, social or metaphysical process but as a momentary event which can (and should) be defined and recorded for clinical, administrative and legal purposes. Similar questions about the definition of death as a social and clinical event have taken major roles in debates surrounding the transplantation and proposed sale of human organs. Early clinical concerns about how to define the proper moment of death and window of organ removal have been complicated in recent debates about the permissibility of markets in human organs. The major question has become whether death terminates what anthropologist Don Joralemon has called the 'body-as-self' relation and permits an alternative perspective of the 'body-as-property': should dying be the signal for commodification? Drawing upon recent scholarship in philosophy and anthropology, this session explores the often-contentious confrontations between competing perspectives on organs, bodies and death.
 
All sessions will be held in the large seminar room at CRASSH.

Open to All. No registration required! 

Part of Health & Welfare Research Group

For administrative enquiries contact apm50@cam.ac.uk