Narratives of a Dying Woman: Contentious Meaning at the End of Life


Advancement in medical science and technology enhanced the human capacity to intervene in the process of dying, forcing professionals and the public to face ethical dilemmas and question the boundary between life and death. The contentious discourse on this boundary is particularly salient given the unprecedented levels of population aging all over the world. This paper analyzes the discursive field surrounding a notable Italian end-of-life controversy. Combining field and narrative theories, the present study spans structural aspects and rhetorical mechanisms. Results show that not only are antithetical interpretations of the event tied to media’s ideological leanings, but the latter are also systematically associated with different sequential structures of headlines and story leads. Competing actors produce alternative frameworks by identifying different sets of perpetrators.

In Socius

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