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Raditya Hari Murti

Various problems associated with cemeteries in Jakarta are ubiquitous, especially regarding its demand and preparation. In this chapter, I want to address the issue of the preference of cemetery in Jakarta, especially related to choice of corpse treatment and management from cultural point of view. The method I use is qualitative descriptive analysis. Operationally, I distribute questionnaires between June and September 2014 to understand public opinion about funeral by two steps: first the online survey and then the household survey. So, I managed to get 247 respondents, consisting of 111 online respondents and 136 household respondents. The result shows that religion, ethnicity, and the length of stay have a difference influence on the choice of the funeral.

Eunhye Choi and Sarah K. Sifers

Grieving children need appropriate interventions to help their grieving process. Every year, a one-day grief camp called Camp Oz is held to assist bereaved children. To investigate the effectiveness of Camp Oz, parents and children were asked to fill out a satisfaction survey. The results of the evaluation indicated satisfaction with most aspects of Camp Oz, but there was room for improvement. Thus, changes were made for the next camp, including developmentally sensitive activities and media interventions, resulting even higher rates of satisfaction. Participants were highly satisfied with the experience of feeling safety and making a connection with others.

Lloyd Steffen

POLST, the acronym for ‘physician orders for life-sustaining treatment’, is a portable medical order that assures patients that medical professionals honour their treatment wishes. The purpose of POLST is to facilitate conversations between patients and health care professionals while clarifying patient wishes with respect to care in end-of-life or critical illness situations. Research suggests that patients have had difficulties understanding POLST forms, and ethical issues have arisen over POLST, including criticism from Roman Catholic ethicists and medical professionals that POLST involves a moral paradigm shift with respect to life values. This chapter argues that POLST honours informed consent and aims at the morally worthy end of upholding patient autonomy as a function of end-of-life care. The paradigm shift critique of POLST will be explained and challenged.

Nate Hinerman

This chapter elaborates upon the ways in which hospice and palliative care utilize spirituality and culturally sensitive care to enhance a patient’s quality of life.

Edited by Nate Hinerman and Mary Ruth Ruth

This inter- and multi-disciplinary volume examines various experiences of loss, whether we encounter it in the form of lost loved ones, lost relationships, lost opportunities or the loss of capabilities as we age. Loss is something we can experience personally, as part of a family, and as part of a community whose collective experiences of loss occasions more public displays of commemoration. We are constantly challenged to find ways of coping and surviving in the face of different types of loss. Due in part to the complexities of the concept itself and the resistance many individuals feel toward discussing painful subjects, it is often difficult to engage in the sort of robust, inter-disciplinary dialogue that is needed to explore fully the links between living, suffering, dying, and surviving loss. Thus, this volume is profoundly interdisciplinary, as it explores how loss can be expressed through cognitive, affective, somatic, behavioral/interpersonal, and spiritual grief responses.

Tomofumi Oka

This chapter explores the tension between Western ‘scientific’ theories of grief care and the ‘indigenous wisdom’ of family survivors of suicide (hereafter ‘family survivors’) in Japan. After the Basic Act on Suicide Countermeasures was implemented in 2006, family survivors began to receive grief care by professionals and volunteers. This counselling encourages family survivors to ‘resolve’ their grief and sees them as mentally ill people who need to psychologically ‘recover’. The grief care providers embrace ‘scientific’ knowledge of grief and utilise Western theories such as grief work without considering that such theories are not culturally neutral and may not be helpful to people in non-Western cultures. Many family survivors found that resolution and recovery were impossible in such an environment and began to organize themselves into self-help groups. To help legitimise their activities, the leaders of such groups contacted me as an expert on self-help groups in 2008. I conducted interviews with leaders and members and was involved in participant observations of informal gatherings that were open to non-family survivors. The participants condemned the government-sponsored grief care and felt disempowered, especially if they followed the traditional Buddhist practice of living with the deceased in their everyday lives. They believed this indigenous wisdom enabled them to make peace with their grief; indeed one of their slogans is ‘Grief is love’. The family survivors’ philosophy of death as expressed through the self-help groups was that family relationships survive death and that indigenous wisdom could help them to survive such a great loss.

Katarína Gabašová

This chapter presents a reflection on the side-lining of death onto the periphery of interest (taboo), not only at the individual level, but also that of society, as well as on fascination (de-taboo) with death, dying, torture, and suffering as displayed by dark tourism. The author’s intention is to point to certain phenomena and related issues to the ultimate question: Can this type of tourism be viewed as a scope for sublimation of anxiety and fear of death, help or influence overcome of loss, or only as a desire for uncommon experience? Discussing specific aspects of dark tourism consumption and motivations in a context related to the problem of overcoming loss, philosophical implications from Søren Kierkegaard’s writings are discussed. The Danish philosopher and theologian, Kierkegaard in meditations ‘At a Graveside’, where – with respect to experience with other’s death and at the level of a third person – he has adopted an attitude of marginalisation and ‘dehumanisation’. Describing mourning and other ways of coping with loss only as a sort of mood and not a display of earnestness. It is appropriate to level some criticism, but leaves scope for further considerations on Kierkegaard’s intentions. Conversely, at the level of interpersonal relations, he calls to persevere in love of the deceased and preserve memories of them in what is the most faithful work of love. Additionally, there is a space for theorising upon the engagement either of becoming ‘thanatourist’ because of contemplating death, but also life and its meaning, possibly considering its impact in overcoming loss, or unconsciously representing the archetype of collector in relation to contemporary homo consumericus including false passion – a ‘desire’ for death and the macabre in terms of having unique experience.

Luísa Maria Flora

‘When a court determines any question with respect to (…) the upbringing of a child (…) the child’s welfare shall be the court’s paramount consideration.’ By choosing as the epigraph for his short 2014 novel the very first clause of the 1989 Children Act, Ian McEwan immediately states one of this fiction’s central themes. Fiona Maye, on duty High Court Judge, Family Division, is called on a vital matter. She has to rule on an urgent hospital request to transfuse a seventeen year old Jehovah’s Witness, Adam Henry, who, resolute on following his parents’ and his own creed, is refusing treatment that may give him a reasonable chance of cure. It is the doctors’ duty to keep him alive. Only an adult patient has the choice of refusing treatment. In this case the judge is bound by the law to enforce the Act and decide in the young man’s best interests. Fiona knows that ‘it was no business of the secular court to decide between religious beliefs or theological differences.’ The judge has to consider how mature he really is, how the sanctity of life the Act aims at protecting intersects with Adam’s declared eagerness to offer his life as a martyr for his faith. The (underlying) conflict between the lay courts and genuinely held religious belief is yet another instance of McEwan’s persistent fictional handling of key contemporary issues in which public and private lives and interests (seem to) collide. The conscientious experienced judge is, once again, confronting a tremendously difficult moral equation, to give judgement she will have to make ‘the intimate intervention of the secular court’. While creating this fiction McEwan persistently addresses transhistorical ethical issues. And, at fifty-nine, Fiona eventually learns that life can be far messier than she had ever realized.

Nate Hinerman and Mary Ruth Sanders

Mattia Cinquegrani

Even if death has always represented a very common and recurring theme in the serial narration on television, it was only during the last fifteen years that loss gained a significant role and became a main narrative topic. In 2001, thanks to Alan Ball, this revolution was realised through the production of Six Feet Under. This television series, about a family of funeral directors, received widespread critical acclaim, revealing the high level of audience interest in this topic. Due to this extraordinary success, representations of the mourning rituals and of the process of recovering from a loss have become very common subjects in television shows all over the world. In the course of the last five years, many documentary series concerning this topic have been realised. In my contribution I will analyse different representations of loss and models of grief produced by this innovative and unusual television sub-genre. Moreover, I will provide evidence as to how these television depictions condition and reflect the common contemporary behaviours in relation to loss.