Grief Goods: Material Possessions and Meaning Reconstruction in Bereavement

The publishing industry has witnessed a burgeoning in “pathographies” or personal accounts of dying or bereavement. One particularly powerful account is Joan Didion’s best-selling book, The Year of Magical Thinking, which offers a detailed forensic introspection of her emotional and cognitive journey through the first year of widowhood. The title’s reference to “magical thinking” captures how bereaved people attempt to function in a distressing, disorienting microclimate and struggle to create a meaningful narrative of death and loss. In such circumstances, normal cognitive and emotional functioning becomes arduous and tentative if not almost impossible. Through a close reading of Didion’s narrative, we explore the symbiotic relationship between goods and grieving and how material possessions are marshalled in the service of meaning reconstruction (Neimeyer, 2001).


Darach Turley and Stephanie O'Donohoe (2011) ,"Grief Goods: Material Possessions and Meaning Reconstruction in Bereavement", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 9, eds. Alan Bradshaw, Chris Hackley, and Pauline Maclaran, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 459.


Darach Turley, Dublin City University, Dublin 9,Ireland
Stephanie O'Donohoe, Un. of Edinburgh, Scotalnd


E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 9 | 2011

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