REVIEW OF COMMUNICATION RESEARCH
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INTERPERSONAL AND INTERGROUP COMMUNICATION                                                                                                

Title & Authors

Death-Related Grief and Disenfranchised Identity: A Communication Approach

Kendyl A. Barney (University of Montana, USA

Stephen M. Yoshimura (University of Montana, USA)

Highlights

 

• The dominant narrative of grief asserts a script for the performance of grief that reinforces cultural norms into bereavement experiences.

• Grief is not merely a feeling, mental state, or passing event, but an evolving part of one’s identity that involves ongoing meaning reconstruction.

The dominant narrative disenfranchises grief experiences by assuming that grief is temporary and distal from one’s identity after significant loss.

• Doka’s (2002) theory of disenfranchised grief is extended to suggest that disenfranchisement occurs in degrees, rather than particular circumstances.

• Narrative methodology can illuminate aspects of grief identity in the context of a dominant narrative that might otherwise be invisible.

• Directions for future research include the features of cultural dimensions, language, and interactions that represent the dominant narrative and either increase or decrease disenfranchisement.

 

Abstract

The death of a significant person in one’s life forces individuals to engage in a number of grief-related tasks, including reconstructing a narrative about the relationship, resituating their relationship with the deceased individual, and developing a new sense of self post-loss. The dominant narrative of grief, however, generally always assumes that the experience is a finite, linear process of detachment. Given past research challenging the reality of that experience, we draw upon Doka’s (2002) theory of disenfranchised grief to propose that grief is not just a possible temporary state of disenfranchisement, but rather a perpetual state of disenfranchisement, mainly as a function of the social and personal binds that individuals find themselves in while navigating the lines between the dominant narrative of grief, and their own experience and performance of it. The communicative approach taken to the concept of grief in this review promotes several new avenues for research on grief.

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Death-Related Grief and Disenfranchised Identity: A Communication Approach

Kendyl A. Barney (University of Montana, USA)

Stephen M. Yoshimura (University of Montana, USA)

 

Keywords: Grief, Bereavement; Communication; Death and Dying; Identity; Narratives;;

 

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Content

 

Introduction

Definitions of Grief

Communicating Grief

Grief and Narrated Identity

The Post-Loss Identity

Disenfranchised Grief

Lack of Acknowledgement

The Nature of the Loss

The Griever’s Attributes

Evaluation of the Cause of Death

Grief as Disenfranchised Identity

The Role of Communication in Disenfranchised Grief Identity

Avoiding the topic

Displaying of over-sympathetic emotions

Instilling a social time limit for grief

Potential Directions for Future Research

Conclusion

Acknowledgements

References

 

  

Keywords

Grief, Bereavement, Communication, Death and dying, Identity, Narratives.

 

About the Author

Kendyl A. Barney (University of Montana)

Stephen M. Yoshimura (University of Montana)

 

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