Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

McCarthy, J.
Closing the casket: professionalism and care amongst funeral directors in the Republic of Ireland
(2015) Mortality, 17 p. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/13576275.2015.1100160

Abstract
In this article, the professional identity of funeral directors is explored through in-depth interview data. The article explores the experiences of funeral directors and ways in which they position themselves in relation to the ritual of the funeral, social and religious values and family structures. The intention is to scrutinise how funeral directors give validity and meaning to their role through various ideas of professionalism, as well as the tensions and contradictions that can arise at certain moments. Accordingly, it seeks to illustrate how funeral directors can contribute to the maintenance of certain normative practices, but also that they can be subjected to particular expectations and tensions in their everyday lives as a result. On this basis, it draws on the work of Michel Foucault to suggest that spaces of uncertainty can give rise to new possibilities in terms of how the role of funeral director is enacted, highlighting the fluid and incomplete nature of the professionalism that many of the participants of this study adhere to.

Author Keywords
death; funeral director; Ireland; professionalism

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