The Spirit Ambulance: Choreographing the End of Life in Thailand

The Spirit Ambulance: Choreographing the End of Life in Thailand

by Scott Stonington

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The Spirit Ambulance is a journey into decision-making at the end of life in Thailand, where families attempt to craft good deaths for their elders in the face of clashing ethical frameworks, from a rapidly developing universal medical system, to national and global human-rights politics, to contemporary movements in Buddhist metaphysics. Scott Stonington’s gripping ethnography documents how Thai families attempt to pay back a “debt of life” to their elders through intensive medical care, followed by a medically assisted rush from the hospital to home to ensure a spiritually advantageous last breath. The result is a powerful exploration of the nature of death and the complexities arising from the globalization of biomedical expertise and ethics around the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520343900
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 08/25/2020
Series: California Series in Public Anthropology , #49
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 685,658
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Scott Stonington, MD, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Anthropology,
International Studies, and
Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

Jandi: The Spirit Ambulance 1

Arirat: Facing the Karma Master 9

Introduction: Choreographing the End of Life 17

1 Paying the Debt of Life 27

2 The Spirit Ambulance 65

Buddhadasa: Problematizing Death 102

3 The New End of Life 113

4 Karma Masters 132

Coda 145

Notes 151

Bibliography 167

Index 183

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