Kim Grego University of Milan ”From 'dying well’ to 'inducing a good death’: Euthanasia in the British press (1864-1949)”


Proposed here is a terminological review of the term euthanasia and the concepts related to a practice that has been in use since the dawn of history, in order to see what changes have occurred in the 1850-1950 ca. period, and what social and historical events prompted them. The timeline ideally follows the four Geneva Conventions of 1864, 1907, 1929 and 1949, a period in which a reflection on death as a mass phenomenon emerged due to unprecedented large-scale wars, and spurred the adoption of humanitarian standards as laid out in the Geneva treaties. The study adopts the perspective of Western culture and draws materials from the British newspapers The Times and The Manchester Guardian from the years 1864-1949. This paper offers a critical reflection on the changes which the term and concept of euthanasia underwent, in light of the historical moment, the social and ideological context, and the role of the media.

Keywords: euthanasia, discourse analysis, medical terminology, news media, popularisation.

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