Grief as Disorder: On the transformation of grief from existential emotion to pathological entity

Publikation: Ph.d.-afhandling

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This article-based dissertation explores the current culture of grief with a particular focus on the forthcoming diagnostic classification of Prolonged Grief Disorder. By situating the dissertation within a sociological understanding of death and society as inherently connected, the dissertation attempts to work out what has led us to a point in time where grief now exists as something that may be considered pathological and what this tells us about contemporary society. Drawing on sociological but also philosophical, psychological, and historical insights it is argued that society and culture are both literally and figuratively built on the dead. This approach makes possible the discussion of how society is formed by and simultaneously forms our understandings of grief. The dissertation combines a theoretical discussion with an eclectic qualitative approach. I call this approach gonzo sociology. Because making sense of how to survey and explore the field of grief research in Denmark and the highly politicised work with implementing the diagnosis, demanded an alternative approach, I went about it in this manner – thereby putting myself, as a researcher, into what I was researching.
  • Petersen, Anders, Hovedvejleder
  • Brinkmann, Svend, Bivejleder
ISBN'er, elektronisk978-87-7210-923-7
StatusUdgivet - 2021

Bibliografisk note

PhD supervisor:
Associate Professor Anders Petersen
Aalborg University
Assistant PhD supervisor: Professor Svend Brinkmann
Aalborg University


  • Grief
  • Sociology
  • Prolonged Grief Disorder
  • Gonzo sociology
  • Thanatology