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Nursing Stories: Life and Death in a German Hospice

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Volume 27

New Directions in Anthropology

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Nursing Stories

Life and Death in a German Hospice

Nicholas Eschenbruch

148 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-151-6 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (December 2006)

eISBN 978-1-78920-396-7 eBook

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“Eschenbruch provides with Nursing Stories a fine and very reflexive ethnographic study of the peculiar social world [of the hospice]…and an explanatory model of the predominant conditions.”   ·  Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale


At a time, when the section of the older population is increasing in all western societies, more and more attention needs to be paid to the growing number of people who live with and die of drawn-out terminal illnesses, cancer being one of the most common ones. This study focuses on terminally ill people in a German hospice and addresses the question how meaningful experience is constructed for these patients in an attempt to preserve their dignity as persons. It is based on detailed and sometimes moving material from diary texts and active participation of the author in the role of a nurse, which allowed him to watch closely the behaviour of patients and nurses in routine situations and to look at the underlying emotions, values, and assumptions within such interaction. This book goes well beyond this particular case and reaches conclusions about death narratives that are significant for the social sciences more generally.

Nicholas Eschenbruch read Modern History and Middle Eastern Studies in Freiburg, Germany, Oxford and Istanbul. He did postgraduate research in Social Anthropology at the Humboldt University, Berlin and at Durham University, UK. He is now a junior lecturer at the Institute for the History of Medicine, Freiburg, Germany.

Subject: Anthropology (General) Medical Anthropology
Area: Europe Germany


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