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Social death is a concept that has recently gained popularity in right-wing and left-wing politics. It is defined as a deterioration of society that inhibits progress and undermines fundamental forms of order. The concepts of social death are essentially racial in nature. It is important to understand the racial nature of death and consider the different ways that it can be represented in different forms of culture.
Social death may begin before a person reaches a terminal diagnosis, when those who care for them are isolated from those around them. This may result in decreased communication, with meaningful conversations replaced with light conversation. Additionally, doctors may spend less time with a terminally ill patient, and friends and family may feel unable to provide comfort or solutions.
Social death also occurs when people are deprived of their humanity. The experience of gang members, police officers, and teachers can lead to social death. This social death is the result of dehumanization and criminalization. In this essay, I describe the experience of six Latino and Black adolescents who were subjected to social death and how it affects their lives.
Death is often referred to as the "Great Equalizer," a title that hides the fact that death is a socially constructed process, shaped by power dynamics. One of the most striking examples of this is the relationship between African-Americans and death. The history of racism in the United States is reflected in the way African-Americans experience death.
Patterson's thesis has been widely circulated and analyzed, but there is little understanding of its historiographical origins, political stakes, and theoretical tensions. As a result, the concept of social death remains largely unread or poorly understood. As such, Patterson's book will not be read by most readers.
Among other aspects of Patterson's work, the author discusses the relation between the caste system and slavery. The former is a powerful agent of authority for its master, and the latter is a major route to usefulness to his master and community. In both cases, social death manifests itself in liminality, the slave lives in the edge between chaos and community. In this state, the slave has no access to the mana of the gods, and is subject to social death. Social death may begin before a person reaches a terminal diagnosis, when those who care for them are isolated from those around them. This may result in decreased communication, with meaningful conversations replaced with light conversation. Additionally, doctors may spend less time with a terminally ill patient, and friends and family may feel unable to provide comfort or solutions.
Social death can be dangerous for young people, especially if it occurs repeatedly. For example, a study of fifteen U.S. school shootings suggests that exclusion was an important factor in 87 percent of the events. In such cases, social death can be as dangerous as physical injury. In human societies, ostracism can be deadly, and if the target is considered outside the protection of the law, it can even lead to death.
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