The Dying Body as a Lived Experience

death-book-coverBy Alan Blum 

The anxiety over death persists in everyday life- though often denied or repressed- lingering as an unconscious worry or intuition that typically seems to compromise one’s feelings of well-being and experience in a range of areas; coming out often as malaise, depression, and anger in much conduct. If one accepts the cliché that life is preparation for death, we must accept that the lived experience of the dying body is not highlighted merely in obvious cases of deterioration such as in the ageing or diseased body, but in everyday life as a normal phenomenon.

This book proposes that sensitivity to this dimension can empower us to develop creative relationships to the vulnerability of others and to ourselves as well. Part One lays the groundwork for a study of the ways the aura and fear of death recurs as a constant premonition in life and how people try to deal with this uneasiness. Part Two then goes on to apply this focus to particular concerns and problems such as dementia, depression, aging, retirement, and a range of anxieties, frustrations and aggressions.

The Dying Body as Lived Experience will be of interest to a wide interdisciplinary audience in the health sciences, in the sociology of health and illness, philosophy, bioethics and in the expanding field of medical humanities.

The Ethics of Care: Moral Knowledge, Communication, and the Art of Caregiving

Edited by Alan Blum and Stuart J. Murray

The book begins with a focus on the ethical foundations of caregiving in health and expands towards problems of ethics and justice implicated in a range of issues. The content develops the notion of care itself and its connection to practice.

Organized around the themes of culture as a restraint on caregiving in different social contexts and situations, innovative methods in healthcare, and the way in which culture works to position care as part of a rhetorical approach to dependency, responsibility, and justice, The Ethics of Care presents case studies examining institutional responses to end-of-life issues, the notion of informed consent, biomedicine, Indigenous rights, and post-colonialism in care and theoretical approaches to the concept of care.

Offering discussions from a variety of disciplinary approaches, including sociology, communication and social theory, as well as hermeneutics, phenomenology and deconstruction, this book will appeal to scholars across the social science with interests in healthcare, medicine, justice and in the question of how we think about care as a notion and social form, and its relationship to practice.

The Reflexive Initiative: On the Grounds and Prospects of Analytic Theorizing

Edited by Stanley Raffel and Barry Sandywell

The Reflexive Initiative is an authoritative intervention in the practice and tradition of reflexive social theory. It demonstrates the importance of the reflexive imperative, not only in the investigation of everyday life but across a wide range of human sciences and philosophical perspectives. Forty years after the publication of On the Beginning of Social Inquiry, the chapters in this collection range from re-appraisals of earlier essays on topics such as ‘reunions’, ‘rethinking art’ and ‘expats’ to contributions emphasising the opening of radical dialogues with other reflexive traditions and perspectives. These include psychoanalysis, Lacan, Hegel, Rene Girard, Daseinanalysis, dialectical method, critical feminism, and the dialogical tradition.

In this dialogical spirit, the book contributes to the continuing project of analytic theorizing associated with the work of Alan Blum and Peter McHugh, and the recent turn to more ‘existential’ topics and politically engaged forms of reflexive research. It will be of particular use to students working in interpretive traditions of sociology, Critical theory, Postmodern thought and debates associated with reflexivity and dialectics in other disciplines and research programmes.