Social death in end-of-life care policy

Borgstrom, Erica (2015). Social death in end-of-life care policy. Contemporary Social Science: Journal of the Academy of Social Sciences, 10(3) pp. 272–283.



Social death denotes a loss of personhood. The concept of social death is engaged with in English end-of-life care policy that sees social death before physical death as a problem. Policy-makers posit that dying persons are likely to be subject to a social death prior to their physical death unless they play an active and aware role in planning their death, facilitated through communication and access to services. Such a view foregrounds a vision of agency and does not address Sudnow's critique of how care of the dying focuses on the body.

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