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SOCA01H3 (480)

Dying Alone Article (Reader)

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Malcolm Mac Kinnon

DYING ALONE Heat wave deaths in Chicago back in 1995 Examined 3 cases during the heat wave, 3 cases of 3 people that died who lived alone and died alone during the heat wave. Why did so many Chicagoans die alone during the heat wave? Why do so many Chicagoans live alone, particularly older folks, with limited social contacts and weak support during normal times? What accounts for the social production of isolation? How can we understand the lives and deaths of the literally isolated? When someone dies alone and at home, the death is a powerful symbol of social abandonment and failure. The number of older people living alone is rising almost everywhere in the world, making it one of the major demographic trends of the contemporary period. The proportions of American households inhabited by only one person and of an elderly people living alone have soared since 1950. There are 4 key social conditions that contribute to the production of literal and extreme social isolation: 1) the aging of urban population 2) the fear of crime stemming from violence and perceived violence of
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