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Metaphors for 'good' and 'bad' deaths: A health professional view

Demjén, Z; Semino, E; Koller, V; (2016) Metaphors for 'good' and 'bad' deaths: A health professional view. Metaphor and the Social World , 6 (1) pp. 1-19. 10.1075/msw.6.1.01dem. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper discusses the metaphors used by sixteen palliative healthcare professionals from around the United Kingdom in semi-structured interviews to describe what they see as 'good' and 'bad' deaths. The interviews, conducted for the large-scale "Metaphor in End-of-Life Care" project, are set against the background of contemporary practices and discourses around end-of-life care, dying and quality of death. To date, the use of metaphor in descriptions of different types of deaths has not received much attention. Applying the Metaphor Identification Procedure (Pragglejaz Group, 2007) we find that the difference between good and bad deaths is partly expressed via different frequencies of contrasting metaphors, such as 'peacefulness' and 'openness' as opposed to 'struggle' and 'pushing away' professional help. We show how metaphors are used to: evaluate deaths and the dying; justify those evaluations; present a remarkably consistent view of different types of deaths; and promote a particular 'framing' of a good death, which is closely linked with the dominant sociocultural and professional contexts of our interviewees. We discuss the implications of these consistent evaluations and framings in broader end-of-life care contexts, and reflect on the significance of our findings for the role of metaphor in communication about sensitive experiences.

Type: Article
Title: Metaphors for 'good' and 'bad' deaths: A health professional view
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1075/msw.6.1.01dem
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/msw.6.1.01dem
Language: English
Additional information: © John Benjamins Publishing Company. This article is available under a CC BY 4.0 licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Keywords: Good death; hospices; medical communication; death and dying; metaphor; end-of-life care
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1530108
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