The fight-to-die: older people and death activism

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Naomi Richards

Abstract

This article explores the activities and convictions of older right-to-die activists who belong to a small but very active interest group based in Scotland, UK, called Friends at the End (FATE). The analysis presented here is based on knowledge gained through seventeen months of ethnographic research with the organisation. While FATE activists currently campaign for a legal right to a medically assisted death, many are also open to taking matters into their own hands, either by travelling to the Swiss organisation Dignitas or by opting for what is known as ’’self-deliverance’’. FATE members’ openness to different means of securing a hastened death contrasts sharply with the more limited demands of the UK’s main right-to-die organisation, Dignity in Dying, and highlights their specific orientation to freedom, which, it is argued here, results from the organisation’s older demographic.

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