Prolonged Grief Disorder: An Implementation Gone Awry and a Researcher Going Gonzo

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In this article I discuss the muddled implementation of Prolonged Grief Disorder in a Danish context. I do this by drawing on my fieldwork, which has been ongoing during the last couple of years. I begin by describing how my initial research design suffered a breakdown that mirrored the breakdown in the implementation of the Prolonged Grief Disorder diagnoses. This breakdown became defining for my work and through the application of what I call gonzo sociology I was able to critically engage in the field of grief research in Denmark. I describe what gonzo research is, and then, following this, I tell the story of how I stumbled into the field of grief research in Denmark and the process of realization I went through. The article is thus structured as a narrative that relays both how I came to embrace gonzo research as a form of methodology, but also the story of what my encounters in the field showed me. I do this because I cannot separate the story of how I went about it from what I came to discover—methods, theory and results are intertwined. Gonzo research aims at going into the field and participating, co-creating the discoveries and pushing the boundaries for research, both in its way of doing research and in its way of reporting said research. Thus, the form of the article is alternative and balances between journalistic endeavor, academic research and autoethnography.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Methods
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2021


  • autoethnography
  • ethnography
  • ethnomethodology
  • methods in qualitative inquiry
  • narrative research


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