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Between living well and dying well: Existential ambivalence and keeping promises alive

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I explore the complexities of moral experience during the phase of life after a terminal diagnosis by examining the experiences of one woman living as a hospice patient in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Introducing the notion of “existential ambivalence,” I show that this can be a period of deep uncertainty, in which what matters to individuals can shift and fluctuate through time, not necessarily lining up with collective ideals of “the good death.” I focus on a promise this woman made that continued to pull her toward a version of living well while she was also pulled toward dying.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

Publication date: May 28, 2018

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