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‘Good’ and ‘bad’ deaths: narratives and professional identities in interviews with hospice managers

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Discourse Studies
Issue number5
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)667-685
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date5/07/14
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article explores the formal and functional characteristics of narratives of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ deaths as they were told by thirteen UK-based hospice managers in the course of semi-structured interviews. The interviewees’ responses include a variety of remarkably consistent ‘narratives of successful/frustrated intervention’, which exhibit distinctive formal characteristics in terms of the starting point and core of the action, the choice of personal pronouns and metaphors, and the ways in which positive and negative evaluation is expressed. In functional terms, the hospice managers’ narratives play an important role in representing and constructing their professional views, challenges and identities. Overall, the narratives argue for the role of hospices and professional hospice staff in facilitating a ‘good’ death, and, by presenting a relatively unified view, may potentially preclude alternative perspectives.

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This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page(http://www.uk.sagepub.com/aboutus/openaccess.htm). The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Discourse Studies, 16 (5), 2014, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2014 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Discourse Studies page: http://dis.sagepub.com/ on SAGE Journals Online: http://online.sagepub.com/