, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 131-134

Near-death utopias: Now or later?

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By viewing near-death experiences (NDEs) in the context of the quest for an ideal society, Kellehear offered hope for positive social change and insight into the social, rather than purely personal, meanings of the NDE. However, his approach raised issues of the interpretive research process generally. As with any research, near-death studies are influenced by investigators' questions, interests, and assumptions. Despite the reasoning behind Kellehear's position, he grounded his analysis not in the data, but rather in his typology of ideal societies. I suggest we look first for indications of ideal social order in near-death narratives and only later compare them with types of utopias.