Sociology Open Lecture
This lecture is based on interviews carried out with bereaved individuals in Sweden and United Kingdom, and examines how the loss of a significant other unravels through a process of materialisation. In this process, the bereaved assign meaning to matters associated with the deceased. Because of this, certain places and objects bring people closer to their dead, as memories and emotions are enhanced or recreated. Simultaneously, however, this process accentuates the absence of the deceased. For most bereaved, the resulting absence-presence is manageable, but for some it is deeply distressing. Five of the interviewees experienced how the past and the present, the familiar and the unfamiliar, collided in a very unsettling, almost haunting way. The main purpose of the presentation is to explore these particular cases in order to understand the existential problems bereaved may face when loss is materialised.
Annika Jonsson is a senior lecturer at the Department of Social and Psychological Studies, University of Karlstad. Her research concerns loss, continuing bonds, place attachment and personal life.