A social ontology of grief

Alfred Sköld*


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This article outlines a social ontology of grief. With the point of departure in a relational understanding of subjectivity and an intergenerational notion of death awareness, the author develops a nonessentialist and nonpathological understanding of the experience of losing part of oneself following the death of another. Losing part of oneself refers, on the one hand, to a shattered subject trying to understand and come to terms with the death of another and a shared lifeworld that is irremediably altered. On the other hand, the partiality of this loss implies that the surviving person is forced to struggle with the quandaries of living on. Thus, a social ontology of grief captures the irreducible and painful aspects related to the loss of significant others, as well as the ethical predicaments related to continued existence, which are not exempt from possibilities and hope.

TidsskriftTheory and Psychology
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)24-41
Antal sider18
StatusUdgivet - feb. 2023

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work has been supported by The Obel Family Foundation under grant number 28153.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


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