The death of the right-to-die campaigners

Richards, N. (2014) The death of the right-to-die campaigners. Anthropology Today, 30(3), pp. 14-17. (doi:10.1111/1467-8322.12110)

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The ‘right-to-die’ or assisted suicide debate in the UK has recently been dominated by high-profile litigation which has brought to public attention stories of individual suffering. The most recent case is that of Tony Nicklinson who, as a result of his permanent and total paralysis which he said made his life ‘intolerable’, wanted the courts to allow a doctor to end his life. Only six days after a Judicial Review refused his request, Tony died of ‘natural’ causes. This article compares the presentation by the media of Tony's requested death with his actual death and discusses what this reveals more generally about the way in which the right-to-die debate is presented to the public. It argues that in a politicised debate in which the personal stories of the disabled-dying are given airtime because of their didactic or symbolic potential, actual death becomes less important than the rights-rhetoric surrounding death.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Richards, Dr Naomi
Authors: Richards, N.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal Name:Anthropology Today
Publisher:John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
ISSN (Online):1467-8322

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