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ERIC Number: EJ791581
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr
Pages: 26
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 123
ISSN: ISSN-0748-1187
Condolence Books: Language and Meaning in the Mourning for Hillsborough and Diana
Brennan, Michael
Death Studies, v32 n4 p326-351 Apr 2008
This article reports empirical research into public books of condolence signed following two key mourning events within British culture: the 1989 Hillsborough soccer stadium disaster and the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997. The author suggests that not only do condolence books provide valuable historical record of the way contemporary society mourns, but also that they reflect attempts to language loss in ways that can be used to evaluate the extent of society's engagement with death. In so doing, he points to ways in which condolence messages signed following these events oscillate between "conservative structures of meaning" (Marris, 1974) and contemporary "structures of feeling" (Williams, 1971). In turn he suggests that such distinctions--between public and private, modernity and tradition--are destabilized by the postmodern cultural forms that these events appeared to inaugurate. In addition, and in the purported absence of expressivist mourning rituals (Gorer, 1965), the author suggests that condolence books may provide a useful social platform for the social expression of grief.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom