ERIC Number: EJ781656
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jan
Reference Count: 9
What Is "No Recovery?"
Death Studies, v32 n1 p74-83 Jan 2008
Thanatologists, as Balk recently commented (Balk, 2004), have been saying that there is no recovery from bereavement, or that we should not speak of bereavement as leading to a recovery. The term recovery has a high level of plasticity and can be shaped to fit diverse meanings, including contradictory meanings. We will sort our way through some of these difficulties, and survey some of the meanings of "recovery" and, particularly, "no recovery." The primary approach takes recovery to be the term of the normative organization and aim of the human response to death. There are social norms, a diversity of norms that respond to the disruption of life imposed by death. So, if "recovery" is the normative term, "no recovery," as a widespread sociocultural reality, suggests that there may be no norms adequate, robust enough, or fitting to govern the human response to death. Much of this article explores the implications of the meaning of "no recovery" as the loss of a functioning normative power to take care of the disruption caused by death. A number of other possible meanings of the term "no recovery" are also considered, most importantly, the possibility that "no recovery" means that mourning is open ended, that death and the deceased are not integrated in life, and that recovery is not the normative aim of mourning. Finally, a clinical case and a hypothesis are presented that suggest that the idea of recovery has been based on the pleasure principle; an alternative conceptualization of mourning that is based on what Freud called the death principle is considered.
Descriptors: Grief, Death, Sociocultural Patterns, Behavior Standards, Social Behavior, Case Studies, Psychology, Psychological Patterns, Theories
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
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