DOI link for Grief
The purpose of this chapter is to examine grief as an everyday emotion from many different perspectives: definitional, philosophical, sociological, psychological, historical and literary. First, we examine how we may define grief as an emotion. Second, we present a variety of the many different faces of grief, before moving into a short historical overview of our changed attitude towards grief and ways of grieving in which we will also deal with how grieving in public in contemporary society can be seen as a case of so-called ‘spectacular grief’. Finally, we will look into grief as an illness and examine how it is diagnosed and treated within contemporary psychological and psychiatric practice. The aim of this chapter is not to present a stringent overview of grief theories, but to engage in a discussion of grief as an ‘emotion of absence’, or an emotion associated with death, that is deeply embedded in everyday life. Hence, this chapter does not aspire to present a systematic or comprehensive review of the vast research literature on grief, but it draws on, discusses and engages with parts of that literature which is found particularly useful for understanding grief as an everyday emotion.