Anthropology 227 – Medical Anthropology January 29 , 2013
T.A. (Farael) Lecture : Anthropology and the end of life
Question: What pops into your mind when we mention the word death?
New medical technology = prolong life at what cost?
Political-economy organ harvesting/selling/transplanting
Palliative Care and Hospice Movement
*not so much about telling truth vs. lying
*ethical principles of autonomny beneficences, nonmalficense, justice, truth telling
(truth at free demand)
*it matters both what we say and in what context/which way we say things
Commodification of body and body parts
Legalization physician-assisted suicide
- Loss of hope/everything
- After life
- Relief (in some cases)
1. What does it mean to live?
2. What does it mean to live the end-of-life or to die?
Over time death has been perceived differently (family oriented lonely)
The body + pain = other
- Biomedicine and its mandate to treat
- A body with total pain transformed into intruder exterior, exposed and outward-
oriented, a medicalized body?
- Fragmented discourse/materiality of pain
- Lack of rational language to describe pain
Life (and Death): 3 philosophical approaches - Death emerges from within as an inherit dimension of life from its very beginning
- Death = shaper of life and the mystery of form of limit
- Power to preserve in beginning
- Every time we act or being acted upon there is a change in our mental or physical
capacities and an increase or decrease in our capacities to act
- Forces of life exclude dying and death
- Mortality is ours without asking but immortality is something we have to build
ourselves, the social and cultural production of immortal
The modern strategy – dismantles mortality by overcoming the unsolvable issues of
death into many particular problems of h