The macabre style: Death attitudes of old-age home residents in Israel

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An inductive, ethnographic analysis of death attitudes among old-age home residents in Israel is employed to describe the construction of a peculiar death-related discourse termed "the macabre style. "This authentic voice of elderly residents emerges from interviews, conversations, and observations as a form of self-immersion in a particular collective consciousness generated by expectations of impending death. The macabre style's rhetorical devices include grim and direct references to death and dying, black humor, historical arche-types, and biblical myths. This construct is further used in order to reflect on and criticize the conceptual circularity of conventional academic categories regarding death attitudes such as "acceptance" and "denial," and as an indication of an old age metonymic discourse of self-transcendence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-512
Number of pages18
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2003


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