In contemporary societies’ perception of children, death plays an incredibly insignificant role. This role goes from being ornamental, a weak reminder that our civilisation has overcome the times of children’s high mortality rates, to being some other society’s concern. Despite both medical improvements and cultural constructions of the child as an immanent and social transcendence, children can and do die. Although an increasing number of recent studies disclose and legitimise children’s preoccupation with death and dying in the context of a popular culture fascinated with death, studies interested in the representations of death and dying in children are rather scant. In this article, we investigate the social and political stakes in discussing children’s cancer in today’s Romanian media, aiming to make visible how the illustrations of the connections between children, death and illness are never ethically neutral. We begin with the observation that, during recent years, there has been a growing media focus on childhood cancer in Romania. Adopting a qualitative approach and resorting to comparative analysis, we analyse what lies beneath the intentions of criticising troublesome socio-political or medical realities of childhood cancer, revealing the mechanisms through which childhood cancer is transformed into a social illness and the cultural implications for the acceptance of death as an inherent part of life both for children and the population as a whole.
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