Body memory and bereavement: Longing for concreteness

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftPaper uden forlag/tidsskriftForskningpeer review

Abstract

According to an important paradigm in contemporary grief research, a healthy grieving process should not aim at severing ties to the deceased—as Freud is traditionally taken to hold—but rather aim at cultivating a continued bond with the deceased. In this paper, I outline a particular issue in the ability to do just that, which results from an inadequate sedimentation of the deceased in the body memory of the bereaved. The issue can be stated as follows: If the bereaved person has not adequately incorporated the deceased Other on an embodied level, i.e., in body memory, the very condition for maintaining a continued bond with the deceased is undermined. Specifically, if the bereaved person does not have a sedimented feeling of the deceased’s sensory qualities, such as his kinaesthetic rhythms and atmospheric presence, then the bereaved person remains alienated and distanced from the typical visual and narrative representations that we use to maintain bonds. The consequence of such a lack of sedimentation in body memory is not an absence of grief or longing for the deceased, but rather what I term a longing for concreteness. To illustrate this, I draw on a contrasting single-case studies.
In closing, I discuss what this issue might tell us about the nature of body memory. Specifically, I suggest that we need to nuance and expand the otherwise rich taxonomy provided by Edward Casey and Thomas Fuchs to accommodate the specific dimension of how we incorporate the concrete, significant Other in body memory.
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Detaljer

According to an important paradigm in contemporary grief research, a healthy grieving process should not aim at severing ties to the deceased—as Freud is traditionally taken to hold—but rather aim at cultivating a continued bond with the deceased. In this paper, I outline a particular issue in the ability to do just that, which results from an inadequate sedimentation of the deceased in the body memory of the bereaved. The issue can be stated as follows: If the bereaved person has not adequately incorporated the deceased Other on an embodied level, i.e., in body memory, the very condition for maintaining a continued bond with the deceased is undermined. Specifically, if the bereaved person does not have a sedimented feeling of the deceased’s sensory qualities, such as his kinaesthetic rhythms and atmospheric presence, then the bereaved person remains alienated and distanced from the typical visual and narrative representations that we use to maintain bonds. The consequence of such a lack of sedimentation in body memory is not an absence of grief or longing for the deceased, but rather what I term a longing for concreteness. To illustrate this, I draw on a contrasting single-case studies.
In closing, I discuss what this issue might tell us about the nature of body memory. Specifically, I suggest that we need to nuance and expand the otherwise rich taxonomy provided by Edward Casey and Thomas Fuchs to accommodate the specific dimension of how we incorporate the concrete, significant Other in body memory.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
Publikationsdato13 sep. 2018
StatusUdgivet - 13 sep. 2018
PublikationsartForskning
Peer reviewJa
BegivenhedTime, the Body, and the Other: Phenomenological and Psychological Approaches - Hospital for Inner Medicine, Heidelberg, Tyskland
Varighed: 13 sep. 201815 sep. 2018
https://time-body-other.unikt-kongresse.de

Konference

KonferenceTime, the Body, and the Other
LokationHospital for Inner Medicine
LandTyskland
ByHeidelberg
Periode13/09/201815/09/2018
Internetadresse
ID: 287031490