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Dying, Economized. Palliative Care and the U.S. Moral Economy of Death

Project description:

I am writing a book about end-of-life care in the U.S., which is based on ethnographic and historical analyses of the hospice and palliative care subspecialty. Research Assistants for this project will help me code and analyze qualitative data for the book’s historical part. This part explains how since the 1950s, clinicians, economists, policymakers, and various public figures began thinking of the end of life as a social problem; how these people articulated the nature of the problem; and how they envisioned solutions to it.

Work required from RAs:

RAs will work with me on three fronts. First, they will read and code files from the archive of a bioethics committee. Each file will include the medical chart and various other notes that clinicians took on a patient who eventually died. I will ask RAs to code the files with a key that I will provide. Applicants should know that many of these files are quite depressing to read, although they are all extremely interesting. Second, RAs will read and summarize articles on end-of-life care from the two leading medical journals in the U.S. (JAMA and NEJM) and from the New York Times. We will develop a coding system for them together. Third and finally, RAs will read and code congressional hearings in which the topic of end-of-life care came up.
Who should apply: Students who have interest in medical sociology, in the relationship between economic life and moral values, and in the sociology of death and dying. Students who want to gain experience in analyzing qualitative data, specifically how to read and code text.

Supervising faculty and contact information:
Roi Livne, Assistant Professor of Sociology
rlivne@umich.edu

Average hours of work per week: 6-9
Range of credit hours a student can gain: 2-3
Number of positions available: 3, maybe 4
Other information: Applicants should email me their résumé, listing their course work and GPA, research experience and interests, and any other relevant information. Note that previous research experience is not required, though it may help. Feel free to email me with any question.