Place and space: Geographic perspectives on death and dying

Anthony C. Gatrell and Sheila Payne

in Death, Dying, and Social Differences

Second edition

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199599295
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731532 | DOI:
Place and space: Geographic perspectives on death and dying

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This chapter examines how a geographical imagination can serve to illuminate some of the most pressing concerns of late-modern society — the needs of those facing death. Such needs will embrace, in particular, the settings where people die and the differential ‘access’ to, and quality of, such settings. It begins by looking briefly at the meaning of ‘medical geography’ and how, over the past twenty years, disciplinary perspectives have shifted from descriptions and analyses of patterns of mortality (and morbidity) to those which bring the social and cultural into play, informing what is now called ‘health geography’. The second section uses this context to review some of the literature on the geographies of death and dying, with a particular focus on ‘place of death’. The third section first looks at quantitative approaches to planning the location of care services and how relatively modern methods (such as Geographic Information Systems) can be used to assess the accessibility to, and use of, services provided for those nearing the end of life. These are contrasted with studies which examine the experience of care and what are now called ‘emotional geographies’.

Keywords: medical geography; health geography; place of death; dying; end of life care; emotional geographies; geographical information

Chapter.  6009 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Palliative Medicine

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