Is death taboo for children? Developing death ambivalence as a theoretical framework to understand children's relationship with death, dying and bereavement

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Children’s voices are missing from debates related to the idea that death is a taboo subject and this limits understandings of how children encounter death. Drawing on data from focus groups with children aged 9–12, this paper aimed to explore if and how children experience death as a taboo, but discovered that the death-taboo thesis lacks nuance, confining and misrepresenting children’s experiences. Death ambivalence is thus proposed as a conceptual tool to illuminate children’s relationship with death. It identifies policy and practice implications concerned with developing death literacy and brings a new theorisation to death and childhood studies.

    LanguageEnglish
    Number of pages16
    JournalChildren and Society
    Early online date17 Jul 2019
    DOIs
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Jul 2019

    Fingerprint

    Taboo
    Bereavement
    dying
    ambivalence
    death
    Focus Groups
    experience
    literacy
    childhood
    lack

    Keywords

    • death
    • taboo
    • children
    • bereavement
    • ambivalence

    Cite this

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    abstract = "Children’s voices are missing from debates related to the idea that death is a taboo subject and this limits understandings of how children encounter death. Drawing on data from focus groups with children aged 9–12, this paper aimed to explore if and how children experience death as a taboo, but discovered that the death-taboo thesis lacks nuance, confining and misrepresenting children’s experiences. Death ambivalence is thus proposed as a conceptual tool to illuminate children’s relationship with death. It identifies policy and practice implications concerned with developing death literacy and brings a new theorisation to death and childhood studies.",
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    author = "Sally Paul",
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    AB - Children’s voices are missing from debates related to the idea that death is a taboo subject and this limits understandings of how children encounter death. Drawing on data from focus groups with children aged 9–12, this paper aimed to explore if and how children experience death as a taboo, but discovered that the death-taboo thesis lacks nuance, confining and misrepresenting children’s experiences. Death ambivalence is thus proposed as a conceptual tool to illuminate children’s relationship with death. It identifies policy and practice implications concerned with developing death literacy and brings a new theorisation to death and childhood studies.

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