Young People's Experiences of Loss and Bereavement: Towards an Interdisciplinary Approach

Young People's Experiences of Loss and Bereavement: Towards an Interdisciplinary Approach

Young People's Experiences of Loss and Bereavement: Towards an Interdisciplinary Approach

Young People's Experiences of Loss and Bereavement: Towards an Interdisciplinary Approach

Synopsis

"This intellectually stimulating book demonstrates the authors are well-read and possess elegant synthesizing skills.... I found the authors to be wise and insightful and their presentation of ideas complex and balanced."
Omega: Journal of Death and Dying

"What it does extremely well, and, indeed, uniquely is provide a wide and deep exploration of the extensive, often bewildering and conflicting, literature about the experiences of young people, loss and bereavement, drawing from it useful conclusions as well as identifying gaps in the research, and pointing to possible ways forward."
BereavementCare

  • What is the significance of death in contemporary society?
  • How do young people come to terms with loss and bereavement?
Evidence shows that bereavement is an issue that touches the lives of the majority of young people, and yet it is often left to the province of specialists. This timely book provides the first in-depth, interdisciplinary overview of our knowledge and theorizing of bereavement and young people including the voices of young people, as well as major statistical studies of cohorts of young people followed over many years.

Taking a broad sweep across a great range of relevant literatures, this book breaks new ground in spanning theoretical issues and empirical research to examine critically what we know about this important - but often neglected - issue. It also features in-depth original case studies of young people who have experienced bereavement and uses these as a basis for exploring how loss and bereavement impact upon young people's lives.

Young People's Experiences of Loss and Bereavement provides essential reading on issues of loss, change and bereavement for students, researchers and professionals across a wide range of health and social care disciplines, especially those involving family and youth work.

Excerpt

Bereavement is a stage of life evoking even more anxiety than adolescence …

(Walter 1999: 141)

Death and bereavement are issues that contemporary western societies struggle to deal with. Since the period of the Enlightenment, the decline of religion and the march of scientific progress have given rise to a culture which leaves people generally searching to know how to make any sense of death and bereavement, and how to cope with the emotional chaos that may result (Walter 1999). Contemporary western lifestyles increasingly emphasize individual rational choice and self-control, while encounters with death and bereavement may arguably pose challenges to such secularized personal lifestyle projects.

Young people similarly may be seen as threatening to the rational order and self-control of modern civilized society. While the particular anxieties aroused by youth may differ from those aroused by bereavement, from a more general perspective, anthropologists have long pointed out that the boundaries between different social categories or social settings may be fraught with ambiguity and tension. The status of youth, and the status of bereavement, may both be experienced as periods of such marginality, with all the attendant possibilities for uncertainty and disruption.

Both these statuses may also be understood not just as marginal and disruptive, but also as transitional, with youth constituting a time of transition between childhood and adulthood, and bereavement a time of psychosocial transition between one set of significant relationships and another. While the theme of transition does not inevitably connote loss, it does necessarily imply change, and whether or not it is experienced as a loss, change in itself may arouse fears of the unknown and the potentially chaotic. The juxtaposition of bereavement and young people may thus suggest a double jeopardy, invoking deep anxiety, whether among professionals, academics and researchers, or people in their everyday lives, as we consider the transitions and potential disruptions of young people who are experiencing the impact of bereavement.

This book focuses on two particular disparate sets of issues: those concerning the category and experiences of ‘young people’ on the one hand, and . . .

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