Euthanasia is deeply rooted in cultural traditions and it is important to study these to be effectively able to contribute to the current debates about legalization of euthanasia. The discussion establishes that euthanasia even when seen in the structure of a right to dignified death becomes a sensitive issue full of contradictions and irreconcilable ideological stances. The hierarchy of human and civil rights, the ranking of social positions occupied by the patient and the significant others in his reference group, the degree of the individual’s domination and assertiveness in decision-making on important events become contentious issues in giving a uniform practical shape to the concept of euthanasia. The analysis also establishes the need for more social science research to understand issues of life and death including end-of-life decisions like euthanasia. This paper makes an attempt to focus on issues surrounding euthanasia from a socio-cultural perspective. While the social perspective and more specifically sociology/anthropology have contributed extensively on health, illness and suffering, contribution on issues around death is relatively scarce. While euthanasia is being discussed of late more openly in countries including India, it has largely remained a medical and legal issue
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