Death becomes them: death doulas, gender, and advance care planning

Tumber, Alana (2020) Death becomes them: death doulas, gender, and advance care planning. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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In Canada, non-medical professionals called “death doulas” have emerged to address perceived gaps in current models of end-of-life and funeral care by providing services that allow individuals to “reclaim” their relationship with death, by educating and supporting clients and their families about their end-of-life options concerning palliative care and funerary options. In order to understand the role of the death doula, I interviewed six death doulas from across Canada. Using a feminist phenomenological approach I explored the following questions: How do death doulas fit into a larger project of death reform? How might hegemonic beliefs about death, gender, and social privilege complicate any roles they might have in death reform movements? Relatedly, in what ways do death doulas resist or reinforce the commodification of care-work? Their responses provided a glimpse into larger debates within the death doula community regarding regulation, the validity of training programs, commodification of care, the role of the death positive movement, and the importance of education.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 14694
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 117-134).
Keywords: death doula, care-work, phenomenology, gender, death positivity, palliative care, advance care planning
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Gender Studies
Date: August 2020
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Terminal care--Social aspects; Human services personnel--Attitudes; Phenomenology; Feminism.

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