Research on death and dying in Western culture holds that individuals engage in a denial and repression of thoughts about death. However, this paper aims to propose that some individuals actively make attempts to exercise control over their eventual demise by engaging in decision-making to achieve an “appropriate death.” A framework is introduced that provides the basis for exploring aspects of decision-making for end of life.
Depth interviews were conducted with 18 consumers about their dispositions toward death and their decision-making regarding their own funerals.
An analysis of the consumer narratives suggests that individuals make efforts to prepare for end of life by reducing conflict and finishing business, enlisting identity management strategies and coming to terms with death itself. Unique consumption experiences and decisions accompany each of these efforts.
This research provides understanding regarding how individuals cope with death by attempting to enlist control over a situation in which they have very little control. In doing so, these individuals make efforts to achieve an “appropriate death” by making explicit decisions for end of life.
Instead of actively engaging in defense mechanisms to deny and repress thoughts of death, this research demonstrates that individuals may recognize the inevitability of death as fulfillment of life. In doing so, they may subscribe to positive illusions regarding end of life and make attempts to exercise control over the event.
Kopp, S. and Kemp, E. (2019), "Addie’s coffin: consumption decisions in pursuit of an appropriate death", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 36 No. 1, pp. 64-71. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCM-11-2017-2454Download as .RIS
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