Death and Dying Between Anthroposophy and Biomedicine

Raquel Littério de Bastos Regina Yoshie Matsue Pedro Paulo Gomes Pereira About the authors

Abstract

Death and dying constantly provoke debates regarding boundaries, rules and disputes for the legitimacy of different meanings regarding processes of finalizing life. This article places special emphasis on conflicts between the therapeutic system of anthroposophy and biomedicine in Brazil. The reflections contained in the text are based on ethnographic research, carried out in multiple locations between 2012 and 2015, investigating concepts of cure in anthroposophy in three different communities: two in Brazil, and one in Switzerland. Over the course of this journey, our experience as ethnographers led us to reflect on death and dying among the Widows of Demétria, one of the anthroposophical communities in which we conducted our research. Demétria is a rural neighborhood located in the city of Botucatu, in the interior of São Paulo state. The community was first organized during the 1970s, and it consists mostly of women - both Europeans and Brazilians - who live together, sharing a lifestyle that reimagines the ethos of death as a part of the aesthetic project of Bildung, which differs significantly from the conception of the death process in biomedicine.

Keywords:
Death; Anthroposophy; Biomedicine; Bildung; Aesthetics

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