Putting a Bow on Death and Dying Health Care Professionals’ Experiences with Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) A Foucauldian Discourse Analysis with Agambian Insights
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This paper employs a Foucauldian Discourse Analysis perspective to enrich the understanding of the experiences that health care professionals in Ontario, Canada have with medical assistance in dying. Interview data is analyzed by situating the health care professional as an effect, as a producer, and as a challenger of power-knowledge systems. Philosophical theories of Giorgio Agamben are applied to the data to challenge Foucauldian principles, and to bolster the discussion of defining of the body that deserves to live, and the body that deserves to die. Major findings that emerged include the dominant discourse of aligning right and good within confines of the law, and the absolution of quantification and generalizability in relation to definitions surrounding dying. In terms of next steps for social work practice, this paper concludes by asking social workers to interrogate why we feel the need to ‘put a bow on death and dying’, so that we may engage in critical conversations with our colleagues.
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