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    Of Grief and Well-being: Competing Conceptions of Restorative Ritualization

    Hockey, Jenny and Kellaher, Leonie and Prendergast, David (2007) Of Grief and Well-being: Competing Conceptions of Restorative Ritualization. Anthropology & Medicine, 14 (1). pp. 1-14. ISSN 1364-8470

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    Informants’ accounts of what they did with ashes they had chosen to remove from UK crematoria described disposal and memorialization strategies that have implications for anthropological understanding of issues of well-being, and the generation of new ritual practices. Here we aim to explore informants’ conceptions of how well-being might be restored after a bereavement and how these were being put into practice. Data were gathered as part of an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded project, which used qualitative interviewing and focus groups among professionals involved with independent ash disposal; and individuals who had removed the ashes of relative or friend from a crematorium. Barking and Dagenham, Nottingham, Sunderland and Glasgow were our field sites. Analysis involved recognizing these data as ‘motivated narratives’ (Bury 2001) that, for example, extended informants’ relationships with the dead, as well as reflecting tensions between professionals’ imperatives to complete work with a client and their commitment to offering individual choice and support during their ongoing relationship with the dead. Such findings highlight the contested nature of contemporary conceptions of restorative ritual, with tensions existing between the meta-narratives of individual choice and professional expertise; between different individuals’ ‘choices’; and between the event of a death ritual and the process of ritualization. These findings contribute a nuanced account of the diversity of discursive practices through which the individuals, both ‘lay’ and professional, involved in a particular death, might understand how well-being can be restored.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Social sciences research; Grief; Bereavement; Contested; Diversity; Wellbeing; Well being; Interviewing; Informants; Friendship; Cultural pluralism; Narratives; Choices; Rituals; Work environment; Death rituals; Discursive practices; Death; Interviews; Expertise;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Anthropology
    Item ID: 11549
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: David Prendergast
    Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2019 14:29
    Journal or Publication Title: Anthropology & Medicine
    Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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