The Medicalized Body and Anesthetic Culture

  • Brent Dean Robbins


In comparison with indigenous cultures, the modern culture of white colonialists of European origin differs in their practices and rituals surrounding death. Over the past two centuries, funeral and burial traditions in North America and Europe have shifted to create a greater distance between families and their dead relatives, and this has created a psychological distance from mortality among the living. The pattern of psychological distancing is a symptom of anesthetic consciousness, a form of psychic numbing which avoids experience as a coping mechanism for managing death anxiety and other aversive experiences. Anesthetic consciousness is examined as a maladaptive cultural pattern, which is linked to various cultural–historical phenomena, including mistreatment of the land and indigenous people.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyPoint Park UniversityPittsburghUSA

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