A critical rejoinder to "Life’s end: Ethnographic Perspectives"

Krawczyk, M. and Richards, N. (2021) A critical rejoinder to "Life’s end: Ethnographic Perspectives". Death Studies, 45(5), pp. 405-412. (doi: 10.1080/07481187.2019.1639903)

189445.pdf - Accepted Version



This article stands as a response to Goodwin-Hawkins and Dawson’s (2018 Goodwin-Hawkins, B., & Dawson, A. (2018). Life’s end: Ethnographic perspectives. Death Studies, 42(5), 269–274. [Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®], , [Google Scholar] ) article “Life’s End: Ethnographic Perspectives” which was published in this journal as an Introduction to a Special Issue of ethnographies about end of life. We address three interwoven fallacies promoted in “Life’s End.” First, we begin by challenging the authors’ central contention that there is no “rigorous body of anthropological work on the issue of dying.” We then problematize the authors’ conflation of anthropology and ethnography. Finally, we deconstruct their argument that there is an “anthropological aversion” to the study of dying stemming from the inherent “intimacy” of ethnographic methods, as well as their assumption that there is something uniquely emotionally challenging about studying dying. We argue that in framing their Introduction to ethnographies of dying as largely one of absence, Goodwin-Hawkins and Dawson ignore a rich history and diversity of research. In challenging the authors’ obfuscation of our subdiscipline, we offer as a corrective a wide range of examples taken from a substantive canon of ethnographic research spanning almost 70 years. We conclude with a broader call for slow academia to ensure that important scholarly contributions are not erased from memory and history rewritten.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Richards, Dr Naomi and Krawczyk, Dr Marian
Authors: Krawczyk, M., and Richards, N.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social & Environmental Sustainability
Journal Name:Death Studies
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1091-7683
Published Online:18 July 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC
First Published:First published in Death Studies 45(5): 405-412
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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