Modernization, improvements in technology and medicine, together with the shift to value patterns that enhances self-determination and claims for further rights and equality are considerations that grow in importance in the modern world. The structural aging of our societies and the postponement of parenthood due to career and lifestyle have led to a rising relevance of the so-called beginning- and end-of-life issues. Issues such as medically assisted reproduction and dying, triage of life-threatened patients, abortion and suicide, raise moral and political questions that present specific characteristics and variations in the context of modernization, laws, policies and welfare systems. Medical progress has led to the development of technologies interfering in biological processes of procreation, expanding childbearing possibilities to individuals and social groups previously excluded from parenting. In relation to the end of life, growing demand for autonomous dying raises public awareness of practices of assisted dying and puts pressure on parliaments and governments to regulate medical practices.
The goals of this Research Topic are:
● To Introduce an adequate cross-national effort of mapping differences in morality attitudes and values and their determinants, and provide highly relevant policy knowledge for future decision making in European welfare states.
● To provide evidence on the nuances within the attitudes of the public in different cultural contexts related to these moral issues.
● To link survey research data, especially on attitudes and values with the welfare state provisions, policies and different legislations in world societies.
● To reflect on the relationship between profound cultural and value structures on private issues such as beginning- and end-of-life with the public political debate in societies.
●To add systematic comparative evidence at the individual and contextual level to the existing eclectic knowledge from diverse disciplines into one single topic (beginning and end of life).
Contributors to this Research Topic provide insight from diverse disciplines in the social sciences and from different fields within political science. Beginning and end of life issues open the way for contributions from political sociology, political theory, political philosophy, politics and sociology of religion, public policy and medical ethics. One of the goals of the special issue is to bridge the knowledge from these different fields and to integrate eclectic knowledge from diverse disciplines of political and social sciences into one single topic (beginning- and end-of-life). From the political theory and political philosophy perspective, authors contribute from the normative notion of naturalness and/or the concept of “good death”. Moreover, empirical sociologists and political scientists present data on the evolution of values, attitudes and public opinion on the beginning and end of life. Survey methodologists´ contributions provide insights on the problems and solutions on measurement. Contributions from public policy scholars focus on the macro and institutional perspectives in relation to morality policies, welfare provisions and cultural contexts in relation to beginning and end of life.
Keywords: Beginning end of life, Euthanasia, Abortion, Surrogacy, Medical Triage, Assisted reproduction techniques
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.