Metaphors, stigma and the ‘Alzheimerization’ of the euthanasia debate

Johnstone, Megan-Jane 2011, Metaphors, stigma and the ‘Alzheimerization’ of the euthanasia debate, Dementia, Online First, pp. 1-17, doi: 10.1177/1471301211429168.

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Title Metaphors, stigma and the ‘Alzheimerization’ of the euthanasia debate
Author(s) Johnstone, Megan-Jane
Journal name Dementia
Season Online First
Start page 1
End page 17
Total pages 17
Publisher Sage Publications Ltd
Place of publication London England
Publication date 2011
ISSN 1471-3012
Keyword(s) Alzheimer’s disease
Summary This paper reports the findings of an unobtrusive research inquiry investigating the possible use and misuse of Alzheimer’s disease in public policy debate on the legalization of euthanasia. The component of the study being reported identified the problematic use of five key metaphors: the Alzheimer metaphor, which in turn was reinforced by three additional metaphors – the epidemic metaphor, the military metaphor, and the predatory thief metaphor; and the euthanasia metaphor. All metaphors were found to be morally loaded and used influentially to stigmatize Alzheimer’s disease and mediate public opinion supporting the legalization of euthanasia as an end-of-life ‘solution’ for people with the disease. It is contended that, in the interests of promoting intellectual honesty and giving proper recognition to the extraordinary complexity of the issue, the problematic use and influence of metaphoric thinking in the public debate about Alzheimer’s disease and euthanasia needs to be made transparent, questioned and challenged.
Language eng
DOI 10.1177/1471301211429168
Field of Research 111001 Aged Care Nursing
Socio Economic Objective 920210 Nursing
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2011, Sage Publications Ltd
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Nursing and Midwifery
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