Endangered Forms of Personhood

  • Cathrine Degnen


This chapter reveals the extent to which personhood needs to be worked at, maintained, and protected. It does so by considering examples of the socially and culturally troubling boundaries between life and death, states of being what Degnen calls “endangered personhood”. These include brain death, dementia, and forms of disordered consciousness such as persistent vegetative state. All generate sharp questions around the nature of consciousness, issues of embodiment, and the ontological challenges of defining personhood or identifying where the person is located. Also explored in this chapter is the significance of narrativity and relationality for how personhood might be said to continue in the absence of individual agency, and the “loss” of the person versus the person “living on”.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cathrine Degnen
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Geography, Politics & SociologyNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

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