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'This Chapel is a Sanctuary': Another Place or a Place for the Other?

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Tabloid reporting about the removal of crosses from hospital chapels and the banning of Bibles on wards highlights a perception that English cultural identity is under threat by concessions made to minority groups, often characterized as 'political correctness gone mad'. A claim frequently made is that Britain is 'a Christian country', and this article argues that this idea, and its corollary that it is natural and right for Christian symbolism to have precedence in the sacred/spiritual spaces of healthcare institutions, acts as what Lacan and Žižek term a 'master-signifier'. As such, I argue that the marginalization of cultural representation—the symbolizing of cultural/religious values that legitimates the presence of minority religions/cultures—is an important factor contributing to the inequality of access to healthcare in general and palliative care in particular.

Affiliations: 1: Chaplain, The Princess Alice Hospice, Esher, UK


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