Thanatológiai Szemle

elektronikus folyóirat


XI. évfolyam



Dear Reader,

In the present issue articles related to the image of death and hospice services among children and the youth prevail, but apart from these we offer our readers other curiosities as well.

The poetry column in this issue contains the poems of Zoltán Halasi, the poet, writer, and translator of literary works, who was born in 1954. In 2003 the artist was awarded with the Hieronymus-prize for his life-work, while in 2004 his volume of poems entitled Így ér el won the first prize at the Édes Anyanyelvünk (Sweet Mother Tongue) poetry competition. In 2006 his literary activity was rewarded with the Palladium-prize. The poetry section is followed by the personal account of Éva Balogh in memoriam Alaine Polcz.

In 2006 Trento in Italy hosted an international conference that aimed at analysing the situation and the operation of European organisations dealing with the palliative care of children. The group entitled the International Meeting for Palliative Care in Children, Trento prepared a written document about the results, and drafted the basic principles, recommendations proposed to be introduced in each European country. This compilation defines the rights of children suffering from incurable diseases as well as those of their families, respectively the principles of the organisations that provide care for these children. Our readers are the first to read the Hungarian version of this document.

Many people instinctively protest against the use of the expression of marketing that veils market-oriented business strategy, and they have misgivings about it when it is brought into contact with the spheres that carry out non-profit activities and perform public service related tasks. However, in order to provide cost-effective health care services and meet the increasing demand for quality care it is imperative to develop the operating principles accordingly. Judit Schaffer, building upon her experiences gained in the process of establishing and operating the Gondoskodás 2000 (Care 2000) Nursing Service in Százhalombatta, undertakes the task of presenting the marketing level hospice care in her study, and she proves that the marketing-approach management is compatible with quality health care, and this approach facilitates the health care service activity of the hospice.

The cultural anthropology study of Ágnes Zana draws the attention to the attitude-shaping role of the visual media, and examines its impact on our image of death. The article pays special attention to media-addicted condition of children and the youth, and the importance of their upbringing and education. The author also presents historical events leading up to the appearance of the visual media in the light of death portrayal. She analyses their mental and somatic effects, and lays emphasis on the role of the family, school, and society in formulating proper answers to avoid the distortion of children’s image of death.

The theoretical examination of the role of the media is expanded by the practical analysis of Mária Magdolna Molnár, who conducted a survey in Transylvania among pupils in rural, respectively urban areas, to explore the children’s attitude to death. Her research method was based on analysing drawings. According to her findings there are remarkable differences between the pupils in rural environments preserving traditions and the pupils growing up in urban environments who are more influenced by the media as far as the image of death is concerned. Based on the drawings the characteristics of age, maturity, and the gender-related upbringing also become tangible.

László Kürti also conducted his research beyond the frontier, but his target group was the Hungarian emigrants who were born on the territory of historical Hungary, settled down in the United States, and became American citizens. The author used the interviews prepared between 1979-1984 and left behind as a heritage by the cultural anthropologist Béla Máday, also an emigrant, to which he added his own collection. In this article he seeks an answer on how the sense of identity, the relationship with the native land, and the attachment to relatives in the new home influence the emigrants’ image of death, the conception of their own funeral inevitable in the future, and their desires. These thoughts are reflected by the interview extracts presented by the author.

In the name of our Editorial Board I wish our readers a pleasant and useful pastime!

Ildikó Horányi
Managing Editor




Death experience


In Memoriam Alaine Polcz



Standards for Paediatric Palliative Care in Europe. European Journal of Palliative Care 2007, 14(3): 109-114.


Hospice marketing. Presenting a service-level model.

According to my hypothesis the marketing-approach management contributes significantly to successful services provided by hospice care and the spread of hospice mentality. The way we aspire to provide quality services in hospice care according to professional protocol, and plan and organise health provision by applying case management, in similar way we need to adopt conscious planning, organisation and control also in management. We are to examine, evaluate and improve our management strategies on a regular basis in order to be able to work evenly under ever changing circumstances and to be able to sustain our range of activities on the long run.

In my study I would like to present the relationship and characteristics of hospice and marketing based on my experiences gained in the course of setting up and operating our hospice service. I analyse hospice care from marketing point of view, and I interpret the marketing work from the aspect of hospice.


Death and dying in visual media - How is our image of death shaped by the media?

In our study we examine the visual media phenomena, because we hypothesise that the media has a great impact on the value judgement of people, and their use are widespread in Hungary today. The most vulnerable population is the youth, children and young adults, who are exposed to the values conveyed by the media, and who regard film scenes as models. As the representation of death and dying has received a prominent role in the media nowadays, we aimed at analysing how the media shapes our ideas related to death and attitude to death.


Analysis of drawings as a psychodiagnostic tool to survey the image of death of pupils

Numerous thanatology papers were published that emphasise the importance of speaking to children about death. Making children acquainted with the facts of death is significant also because our modern society does not prepare us for the acceptance of death as a natural phenomenon. Nowadays children are mainly faced with the notion of violent death. According to Alaine Polcz adults must assist and encourage children in order to facilitate their understanding of death and to be able to process their grief, because unprocessed grief may hinder their development. In the past children acquired their death related knowledge with the help of rituals, they saw the dying and they saw dead people. There are few papers dealing with this issue in Transylvania, therefore I decided to closely examine the death-related attitudes.

The aim of my paper: examining the image of death among pupils, and as research method I chose to analyse the drawings of children. The attitude to death in the studied population is in the process of change. Traditions, upbringing and education still have an important role in children’s life, however, the role and the influence of the media is increasing. According to the results of my research the majority of pupils in Marosvásárhely are still aware of the rituals related to the dead, however, the portrayal of violent death furnished by the media has a significant impact on them, too.



Issues of death and identity among Hungarian emigrants

There are several studies that have already dealt with the sense of Hungarian identity among Hungarians living abroad. In this paper we are presenting interviews with leading personalities such as artists, priests, scientists living as emigrants, who share their views related to death and funerals.