Organized Panel Session
This panel explores the ways in which end-of-life decision making, attitudes toward death, and caring for the dying are shaped by sociocultural, politico-economic, institutional, demographic, and policy shifts in a diverse range of societies in East and Southeast Asia. The panelists will pay special attention to the forces and practices that complicate our understandings of choice and care by highlighting the social and cultural specificities of death and dying in China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, and Thailand. Drawing on training in anthropology, sociology, clinical medicine, and public health, the panelists will address the following questions. How do processes of institutionalization, commercialization, and medicalization reshape the status of the dying and what counts as appropriate care in hospital settings? Who becomes marginalized in this process? In what ways do cultural, religious, and ethical ideals interact with financial considerations, changing family structures, and the institutionalization of care? How are end-of-life "choices" understood in societies where the dying person is not considered an autonomous decision-maker set apart from other human and non-human beings? The panel will also provide insight on the underexplored accounts of physicians caring for the terminally ill and the attitudes of unconventional caregivers. In the spirit of facilitating dialogue through new media technologies, paper summaries and discussion questions will be pre-circulated and posted online at www.chm.hku.hk with opportunities for advance commentary by the general public. Panelists will incorporate these online responses into our presentations and set up a livestream in order to generate lively dialogue with a geographically diverse audience.