Completed life
: A discourse analysis of the normative frameworks underlying proposed legislation on assisted dying in older people considering their life to be completed

  • Sophie de Crom

Student thesis: Master's Thesis: Care Ethics


Sensibilities towards the good death, linked to good care, are shifting; whether or not to further extend the freedom of choice in end-of-life issues is a hot topic in politics. An expression of this debate is the proposed legislation on assisted dying in older people considering their life to be completed in the Netherlands. Even though care and politics are essentially intertwined, and research on the normative frameworks underlying the proposed legislation could produce valuable insights, a care ethical discourse analysis is lacking.
In this master thesis, such a discourse analysis is performed: the TRACE method is used to analyse the proposed legislation by steps of tracing, evaluating, renewing (with the ethics of care) and concretising. Taking care as a starting point, the question becomes how to best care for, how to best contribute to living "as well as possible", with death and dying as insurmountable and essential part thereof. How in the responsibility of caring for the self, for others, and the relationship between them, we can make this end of life dignified.
Resulting, a rebuttal against the presumed autonomous, self-determining will without undermining the subjective desire for more control is offered, and a discourse formed by the sincere listening and attuning to people of all levels of society (care-givers, care-receivers and policy-makers) is proposed.
With my research, I hope I have been able to contribute to the dialogue, and to extend the understanding of the representations of good death and dying in old age from a care ethical perspective. Ultimately, the findings could conduce to careful and morally responsible policy in the future, with implications for the (end of) lives for caring professionals, elderly and their loved ones.
Date of Award15 Jul 2021
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorEls J. van Wijngaarden (Supervisor)

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