Moral ambivalence and informal care for the dying

Broom, Alex, Kirby, Emma, Kenny, Katherine, MacArtney, John and Good, Phillip (2016) Moral ambivalence and informal care for the dying. Sociological Review, 64 4: 987-1004. doi:10.1111/1467-954X.12400


Author Broom, Alex
Kirby, Emma
Kenny, Katherine
MacArtney, John
Good, Phillip
Title Moral ambivalence and informal care for the dying
Journal name Sociological Review   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1467-954X
0038-0261
Publication date 2016-11-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/1467-954X.12400
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 64
Issue 4
Start page 987
End page 1004
Total pages 18
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Abstract Caring for the dying presents perhaps the most challenging site of informal care. Participation in informal caring roles in such contexts has been prone to reification as a virtuous social practice, often without critical reflection as to the implications for caregivers. Here, drawing on interviews with carers who were providing care in the last few weeks or days of life, we develop an understanding of informal care in this setting as a morally ambiguous social practice, framed by social relations of duty, gift and virtue, but in turn encapsulating experiences of failure, shame and suffering. Such a contradictory understanding of caregiving is critical for understanding the tensions within end-of-life settings and also for countering the concealments produced by the valorization of informal care more broadly in modern societies. We present a critical analysis of informal care's contested character at the end of life, challenging normative understandings that are complicit in producing moral ambivalence, shame and suffering for individual carers.
Keyword Dying
End of life
Informal care
Moral ambivalence
Suffering
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Mater Research Institute-UQ (MRI-UQ)
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