Deconstructing grief: a sociological analysis of Prolonged Grief Disorder

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This article discusses the forthcoming diagnostic classification of Prolonged Grief Disorder in light of sociological perspectives. By placing death and grief at the center of human life and culture, the beginning pathologization of grief may be discussed in regards to contemporary societal transformations. First, it will be discussed how grief can be viewed as an emotion that in many ways is essential for our self-understanding, self-relation and relation to others. Then, through the perspective of Zygmunt Bauman, it is discussed how death, and thereby grief, can be seen as constitutive for society and culture and how medicalization has played an important role in transforming our relationship to death and grief by a process of deconstruction. This perspective is then supplemented with Hartmut Rosa’s discussion of accelerating society to illuminate why grief is now a disorder that requires psychiatric treatment. The article ends with a discussion of why these tendencies are problematic in regards to our conceptualization and understanding of grief.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Theory & Health
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)186-200
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


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