‘We’re ok with death.’ Young people talk about the end-of-life by Sarah Coombs

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‘We’re ok with death.’ Young people talk about the end-of-life by Sarah Coombs a presentation from the BSA Sociology of Death, Dying and Bereavement Study Group Symposium on 15 November 2013.

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‘We’re ok with death.’ Young people talk about the end-of-life by Sarah Coombs

  1. 1. ‘We’re ok with death’. Young people talk about the end-of-life Sarah Coombs BSADDB Nov 15th 2013
  2. 2. Introduction
  3. 3. Argument • Kastenbaum and Fox (2007) suggest that as adults we assume that – Children do not think about death. Children cannot think about death. Children should not think about death. • However, Isaac (aged 15) contends that, I don’t agree with that. I think that was probably written by an adult…I think children are suppressed from talking about death in order to protect them. To say can’t, don’t and shouldn’t is wrong because we can, we do and I think we should 3
  4. 4. Death … A problem … For adults [?] • Elias: ‘Nothing is more characteristic of the present day attitude to death than the reluctance of adults to make children acquainted with the facts of death’ (1985: 18). • Bluebond-Langner & DeCicco: ‘death, like sex, is a topic which adults find difficult to discuss with children’ (2006: 85). • Fearnley: ‘Despite advancements in many aspects of our everyday lives during the last decade, the positioning of children in relation to dying and death appears to have stagnated’ (2012: 11). 4
  5. 5. Sacred/Profane TABOO ?
  6. 6. • Bluebond-Langer 1978, Silverman 2000, McCarthy 2006, Fearnley 2012, have all sought to ascertain young people’s views of death • McCarthy contending that these have often been in relation to ‘significant biographical events’ and therefore ‘the context of deaths that do not constitute a major disruption to their lives’ (2006: 180), may have been overlooked. Finding out
  7. 7. Marginal spaces: Opening the box
  8. 8. ‘Death wears a T-shirt’ (Megan age 15) Using cultural scripts
  9. 9. ‘Nothing’s quite the same’ (Justine age 11) Using personal encounters
  10. 10. All angels are massive pissheads (Jack aged 16) Using ‘deathscapes’
  11. 11. Intricate and colourful spaces
  12. 12. Conclusion ‘We’re ok with death’ (Amy aged 15)

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