Document Detail

Dying peacefully: considering good death and bad death in Kwahu-Tafo, Ghana.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  14732604     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
People in Kwahu-Tafo, a rural town in Southern Ghana, regard a peaceful death as a 'good death'. 'Peaceful' refers to the dying person having finished all business and made peace with others before his/her death and implies being at peace with his/her own death. It further refers to the manner of dying: not by violence, an accident or a fearsome disease, not by foul means and without much pain. A good and peaceful death comes 'naturally' after a long and well-spent life. Such a death preferably takes place at home, which is the epitome of peacefulness, surrounded by children and grandchildren. Finally, a good death is a death which is accepted by the relatives. This 'definition' of good death--'bad death' is its opposite--does not imply, however, that it is a fixed category. The quality of one's death is liable to social and political manoeuvre and, therefore, inherently ambiguous. The good death of a very old and successful person can be decried by the younger generation as the death of a witch who managed to live long at the expense of young people who died prematurely. The article is based on anthropological fieldwork carried out intermittently from 1971 to the present day.
Sjaak van der Geest
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Social science & medicine (1982)     Volume:  58     ISSN:  0277-9536     ISO Abbreviation:  Soc Sci Med     Publication Date:  2004 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2004-01-20     Completed Date:  2004-04-06     Revised Date:  2004-11-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8303205     Medline TA:  Soc Sci Med     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  899-911     Citation Subset:  IM    
Medical Anthropology Unit, University of Amsterdam, Oudezijds Achterburgwal 185, 1012 DK Amsterdam, Netherlands.
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MeSH Terms
Anthropology, Cultural*
Attitude to Death / ethnology*
Developing Countries
Family Characteristics
Family Relations / ethnology*
Quality of Life
Rural Population
Social Environment*
Sociology, Medical

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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