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"Requested death": a new social movement


  • McInerney, Fran


This paper addresses current developments in the right-to-die arena. While discussion of this area has tradionally been the province of disciplines other than sociology, including philosophy and bioethics, this paper offers an alternative framework from which to consider the progressive interest in control and choice at life's end which had developed this century, principally in the Western world. Taking a largely socio-historical approach, this paper argues that issues such as euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide can be seen as forming part of an international social movement, which is dubbed 'the requested death movement'. The paper traces the chronology of the movement, placing its framing activities, the emergence of individual activists and events and its progressive mobilization, within a consideration of so-called 'new' social movements, which have emerged since the 1960s. These are principally concerned with resisting state control of cultural matters, while reclaiming matters of identity, privacy and individual corporeality, which it is argued are at the core of the requested death movement. It is posited that this consideration can contribute to undestandings of both the contemporary social organization of death and dying, and social movement theory more generally.

Suggested Citation

  • McInerney, Fran, 2000. ""Requested death": a new social movement," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 137-154, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:50:y:2000:i:1:p:137-154

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gyourko, Joseph & Tracy, Joseph, 1991. "The Structure of Local Public Finance and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 774-806, August.
    2. Gyourko, Joseph & Tracy, Joseph, 1989. "The Importance of Local Fiscal Conditions in Analyzing Local Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1208-1231, October.
    3. Clark, David E. & Kahn, James R., 1989. "The two-stage hedonic wage approach: A methodology for the valuation of environmental amenities," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 106-120, March.
    4. Blomquist, Glenn C & Berger, Mark C & Hoehn, John P, 1988. "New Estimates of Quality of Life in Urban Areas," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 89-107, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Karsoho, Hadi & Fishman, Jennifer R. & Wright, David Kenneth & Macdonald, Mary Ellen, 2016. "Suffering and medicalization at the end of life: The case of physician-assisted dying," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 170(C), pages 188-196.
    2. Crossley, Nick, 2006. "The field of psychiatric contention in the UK, 1960-2000," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 552-563, February.

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