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By Megan-Jane Johnstone

Drawing on vast info together with information media studies and commentaries, documentaries, courts and courtroom stories, motion pictures, web pages, expert literature and executive and non-government corporations, this publication explores the 'Alzheimerisation' of the euthanasia debate, reading the shift lately in public attitudes in the direction of the desirability and ethical permissibility of euthanasia as an end-of-life 'solution' for individuals residing with the disorder - not only at its finish degree, but in addition at past levels. With awareness to media representations and public understandings of Alzheimer's illness, Alzheimer's illness, Media Representations and the Politics of Euthanasia sheds mild at the procedures contributing to those adjustments in public opinion, investigating the drivers of vexed political debate surrounding the difficulty and studying the style within which either side of the euthanasia debate mobilise aid, painting their competitors and utilize media applied sciences to border the phrases of discourse.

Paving the best way for a better point of highbrow honesty in regards to a subject wearing major coverage implications, this booklet should be of curiosity to students of media and verbal exchange, social pursuits and political communique, and the sociology of healthiness and drugs, in addition to researchers and pros within the fields of palliative and finish of existence care.

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Extra resources for Alzheimer’s Disease, Media Representations and the Politics of Euthanasia: Constructing Risk and Selling Death in an Ageing Society

Example text

As scholars have reminded us, in societies that have yet to come to terms with death, death stands as an ‘offensively meaningless event, so that disease widely considered a synonym for death is experienced as something to hide’ (Sontag 1978: 8). Examples are given to show that the portrayal of Alzheimer’s disease in the mass circulation media has given rise to a ‘politics of paranoia’ and a ‘health politics of anguish’ in the public’s mind and, ultimately, a ‘cultural language of distress and fear about AD [Alzheimer’s disease]’ (Whitehouse 2008: 99).

There is a strong correlation between population ageing and the increasing prevalence of Alzheimer’ disease and other dementias. In light of this, the risk of ‘demographic alarmism’ and ‘demographic scapegoating’ being applied to people diagnosed and living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is high. In a world that is troubled and driven by economic concerns, it is but a short step for this kind of reasoning to be used to foster prejudicial thinking and behaviour about people living with a disease that is portrayed universally as ‘the disease of the century’ (Fox 1989: 95)’ and as being an overwhelming ‘burden’1 on society, families and friends, the health system and, not least, national and global economies.

His criticisms were right on target. I demolished his argument. I’ve never won an argument with him. You disagree? Okay, shoot! If you use that strategy, he’ll wipe you out. He shot down all my arguments (Lakoff and Johnstone 2003: 4). 26 Alzheimer’s Disease, Media Representations and the Politics of Euthanasia Contrary to what is commonly thought, metaphors encompass much more than mere language. As political linguists and cognitive scientists have increasingly shown, because of the fundamental role metaphors play in structuring what people think, perceive, experience, and how they relate to other people, metaphors (and importantly, the conceptual systems to which they are linked) also govern people’s ‘everyday functioning, down to the most mundane details’ (Lakoff and Johnson 2003: 3).

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