Relationality and Finitude: A Social Ontology of Grief

Research output: PhD thesis

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Grief raises the questions of who we are and how we ought to live. It transcends the borders between life and death, past and future, the ontological and the ethical, self and other, and as such, comprises one of the most poignant existential phenomena—a prism into a deeper understanding of what it means to be human. In this dissertation, Alfred Bordado Sköld develops a Social Ontology of Grief. He situates grief as the node in the dialectic between relationality and finitude, and argues that any understanding of what it means to lose a loved one requires an account of what it means to live among others and in relation to death. We become who we are in and through relations to mortal others, and grief experiences—in this case the loss of a life partner—testify to how these bonds are at the same time precarious and subjectivizing. In the first part, Sköld develops a natal, relational and worldly notion of subjectivity, drawing on psychoanalytical, deconstructive and existential-phenomenological theory and a thorough analysis of the world of partnerhood. The second part explores how grief can inform our ideas of finitude, mortality and death awareness, and argues that grief ultimately points to the loss of possibilities for living a certain life.
Translated title of the contributionRelationalitet og Endelighed: Sorgens Sociale Ontologi
Original languageEnglish
  • Brinkmann, Svend, Principal supervisor
  • Petersen, Anders, Co-supervisor
Electronic ISBNs978-87-7210-920-6
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

PhD supervisor:
Professor Svend Brinkmann, Aalborg University

Assistant PhD supervisor:
Associate Professor Anders Petersen, Aalborg University

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