Dying through the looking glass… The influence of discursive formations on end of life care

Atkinson, Joanne (2019) Dying through the looking glass… The influence of discursive formations on end of life care. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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This research contributes to the professional understanding of the contextual conditions that exist in end of life care. Using a Foucauldian lens, this research explores the apparatus and technologies of power at play, and considers the impact of mainstream media on discursive practice in end of life care. Mass media campaigns have had a significant impact on end of life care, developing a sense of scandal and moral panic among the population. The research highlights the tensions, challenges and possibilities that emerge from the intersection between media and healthcare practice.

Foucauldian discourse analysis has provided a philosophical lens through which to view this research and explore the professional contexts in which we operate. Collection and analysis of media artefacts from journalistic press in the form of broadsheet newspapers and terrestrial television (factual outputs) were undertaken. In addition, self-recorded narratives from nine healthcare professionals working in end of life care were transcribed and analysed.

The findings have given rise to discourses that have been aligned to specific domains of understanding. Technologies enable us to highlight the way in which structures, and functions within political and social institutions, can manipulate populations or individuals, or indeed how power can shape human conduct. The technologies emerging from this thesis are: technologies of caring; technologies of power; technologies of self; technologies of representation and professional apparatus.

The mainstream media influences discursive practice in end of life care; therefore, professionals need an appreciation of how they might deal with the challenges and opportunities posed. Exposing dying and the discursive formations in this research offers a novel insight into how healthcare professionals are not immune to, but are part of, the influences that mediate how care is delivered at the end of life; how, indeed the media can have such a strong influence on perceptions and understanding.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Media influence, Discourse analysis, Foucault, Palliative care, Professional Practice
Subjects: L200 Politics
L400 Social Policy
L900 Others in Social studies
P300 Media studies
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
University Services > Graduate School > Professional Doctorate
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2020 07:56
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 18:31
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/42813

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