An inevitable and universal experience, dying is experienced by individuals in different ways, often related to the character of our relationships, family structures, gender identities, cultural backgrounds, and economic means. Drawing on extensive qualitative fieldwork with patients, carers and health professionals in Australia and the United Kingdom, Dying: A Social Perspective on the End of Life provides a critical examination of the different spheres of dying, in social and cultural context. Exploring complex issues such as the politics of assisted dying, negotiating medical futility, gender and dying, the desire for redemption, the moralities of 'the good fight' and the lived experience of bodily disintegration, this book links novel theoretical ideas within sociology to cutting-edge empirical data collected in palliative and end-of-life care contexts. A theoretically engaged understanding of the social mediation of the end of life, Dying: A Social Perspective on the End of Life also sheds light on the manner in which the end of life can be shaped by major economic, cultural and socio-cultural shifts including neo-liberalism, individualisation, medicalisation, professionalisation and detraditionalisation. As such, it will appeal to social science, health and medical researchers interested in the end of life, as well as those working in palliative and end-of-life care settings.
Alex Broom is Professor of Sociology at the School of Social Sciences, the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. He recently co-edited Evidence-Based Healthcare in Context; Health, Culture and Religion in South Asia; Men's Health: Body, Identity and Social Context; and Gender and Masculinities: Histories, Texts and Practices in India and Sri Lanka. He recently co-authored Therapeutic Pluralism: Exploring the Experiences of Cancer Patients and Professionals.
’In an increasingly secular, yet still economically rich West, this cutting edge sociological look at dying is crisp, revealing, at times heart breaking, and other times hopeful. The in-depth examination of contemporary dying as a co-production sets this book apart from the rest. By framing dying as a thoroughly social occasion, Dying aims to prompt change in how we think about - and approach - the end of life. Bravo to Broom for shedding new light on an evolving and critical social issue!’ Damien Ridge, University of Westminster, UK 'There have been several recent books on aspects of dying. What makes Alex Broom's special is the telling way he draws on social theory to frame his own data and to cast new light on death as a social occasion. Death often remains taboo, but this sophisticated study of patients facing the end of life will pave the way for a more open understanding via its carefully nuanced discussion and analysis of the context, perceptions and behaviours of all those engaged in terminal care. This is sociology at the front line: subtle, innovative, accessible and with profound implications for doctors, nurses and all those caught up in caring for dying people.' Graham Scambler, University of Surrey, UK