The danse macabre: A unique discourse among the elderly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Death anxiety, fear, denial, and acceptance are theoretical concepts that frame the midlife discourse about death. This paper uses an historical analysis of an alternative concept, the danse macabre, as a different viewpoint on death attitudes. The relevance of the danse macabre is further explored by examining verbal strategies among old-age home residents whose collective reality is underpinned by impending death. The discourse of the macabre, in a parallel manner to aphorisms, folktales, parables, and other forms of elderly discourse, is discussed as an example of the dual construction of meaning in old age. It is an example of how the elderly reconstruct 'private languages' of meaning out of externally-imposed forms of discourse that combine the physical and the metaphysical.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-275
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2004


Dive into the research topics of 'The danse macabre: A unique discourse among the elderly'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this