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Title: 'We're ok with death' : young people discuss the end of life
Author: Coombs , Sarah P.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5348 3616
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2014
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This work represents the voices of 29 young people aged between 10 and 17, all of whom volunteered to come together in small • self-selected friendship groups to explore the meaning of death within their everyday lives. At my request they placed individually chosen household objects that evoked death for them in shoe boxes and brought them for discussion. The artefacts • were many and varied and elicited a wide exploration of death. A significant number of objects were connected to cultural sources, such as literature, cinema and television. More personal effects were equally evident, bringing highly individual encounters with death to the fore, and a collection of more unusual objects -allowed for thoughtful reflections. This study sits within the 'new sociology of childhood' paradigm, situating these young people as active social agents, experts in their own social worlds, and having rights to participation and having their voices heard. Equally, an approach, premised upon doing no harm and a 'feminist ethic of care' was centrally important. Kastenbaum and Fox (2007) have argued that adults assume young people do not, cannot and should not think about death. The findings here challenge this view by revealing young people's lively engagement with this topic in a number of distinct areas. Cultural resources were used to inform their perspectives on, and responses to death, but also to challenge many of these as unreal and unauthentic. Personal narratives of loss, and memories of loved ones revealed a variety of encounters with significant deaths, the stories being told in an array of vibrant, amusing and emotive ways. Similarly, death was explored from a variety of religious and scientific frameworks, highlighting rich and changing perspectives. Such shifting and exciting vistas are a largely undiscovered part of young people's lives and situate them in a landscape not often associated with childhood.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available