The Social Symbolism of Grief and Mourning

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This book would appeal to professionals and practitioners in the field of bereavement care, particularly funeral practices. In the presence of much that is so meaningless through grief, this book provides a meaningful overview, perhaps with new insights and perspectives, and is as such highly recommended.'

- The Compassionate Friends Newsletter UK

'Discusses research in the field of art therapy, the forms of research available in the field, and the ways in which definitions of research affect understanding of the arts therapies and how they are practised. In his introductory chapter, the author outlines the importance of research into the arts therapies and explains that, while the rest of the book focuses primarily on research into drama therapy , his observations are applicable to other forms of art therapy. He describes the characteristics of art therapy and how these affect the types of research that can be carried out in the field... The author addresses questions relating to research by practicing art therapists, the investigative processes open to them, and the necessary differences between the approaches they take and those of traditional academic research. He proposes an art-based form of research, which uses art as both the means of interpreting art and of presenting that interpretation.'

- ARTbibliographies Modern

In The Social Symbolism of Grief and Mourning Roger Grainger focuses on the role of funerals in promoting the personal and social adjustment of the bereaved. The work explores the significance of many of the areas and stages connected with death, with chapters covering such topics as:

* attitudes towards death

* our fear of death and dying

* ways in which we attempt to come to terms with death

* the rituals that surround these processes.

By tying together folklore and traditional beliefs with actual funeral practices, both ancient and modern, the author has created a work that examines the anthropological, psychological and superstitious aspects of our relationship to death and dying.

'Grainger is multi-talented, drawing on his expertise in drama, counselling, acting, theology, sociology and anthropology... He has some interesting things to say about the necessity of chaos, and how this is ritualised in the Irish wake. Unlike many authors on bereavement, Grainger takes seriously the ghost beliefs that are widespread throughout history'

- Bereavement Care

'The Social Symbolism of Grief and Mourning is a complex study of death from the perspectives of drama, psychology, anthropology, and working pastoral practice. Roger Grainger ties his study to ancient and current funeral practices, and examines the beliefs about death implicit in our social behaviour; but more importantly, he had understood and can communicate, the absurd quality of death and its religious nature. By its very nature, death is paradoxical: it cannot be contained by words or rites, but that is just what we seek to do, must do, to make sense of it. In doing this, we make sense of life. The important bearing on changing funeral practices, but more pressingly on the way we speak and preach (if we do) about death.'

- Church Times

'Roger Grainger's book is a refreshingly new approach to a wide range of theory and practice regarding attitudes towards death, dying and the dead. Most of the material cited was collected presumably for his PhD in the 1970s and the only major criticism relates to the absence of contributions of contemporary philosophers and commentators such as Foucault, Levinas, Primo Levi and Elias. However, this is more than compensated for by a fresh look at the work of some of the late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century anthropologists as well as eastern works, such as the Tibetan Book Of The Dead … Grainger cites sources which deplore the current state of British funerals and promotes the charter of the National Funeral College. In concluding the book with a chapter entitled The Rite of Passage, he conveys, with good supporting evidence, the importance of sustaining these rites in order to support bereaved people in what can be seen as a mythical experience which is also practical and rooted in reality. I recommend this book not least because of its exhaustive research which provides an excellent resource for any further study in this area.'

- Progress in Palliative Care
  • Published: Mar 01 1998
  • Pages: 160
  • 232 x 155mm
  • ISBN: 9781853024801
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