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The role of the ancestral tradition in bereavement in contemporary Japanese society


Reference:

Valentine, C. A., 2010. The role of the ancestral tradition in bereavement in contemporary Japanese society. Mortality, 15 (4), pp. 275-293.

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    Official URL:

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13576275.2010.513161

    Abstract

    By focusing on the reported experiences of bereaved Japanese people, this paper explores the continuing role of the ancestral tradition in contemporary responses to death and loss. In a culture that emphasises social conformity, it demonstrates the diverse and innovative ways individuals negotiated a shared tradition in a contemporary postmodern context in which a variety of cultural messages compete for attention. Traditional Buddhist mourning rituals that promote family and social solidarity now take their place alongside a medicalised system of dying, commercialised mourning, bereavement counselling and increasing emphasis on individualism and personal choice. Five categories of responses are identified to reflect the different ways the individuals concerned sought to reconcile social and familial obligations associated with traditional approaches with their need to find individual and personal meaning in their loss. Some participants felt obliged to conform to traditional forms from which they took little comfort, while others found them to be supportive and meaningful. Some took an improvisory approach, putting their own personal stamp on received wisdom. Others turned to alternative forms of support, either to supplement or replace traditional approaches. Their responses reflected the complex, dynamic, fluid and ambiguous relationship between the individual and their social and cultural resources, demonstrating the contribution of individuals to shaping culture.

    Details

    Item Type Articles
    CreatorsValentine, C. A.
    DOI10.1080/13576275.2010.513161
    DepartmentsFaculty of Humanities & Social Sciences > Social & Policy Sciences
    Research CentresCentre for Death and Society
    Publisher StatementValentine_Mortality_2010_15_4_275.pdf: This is an electronic version of an article published in Valentine, C. A., 2010. The role of the ancestral tradition in bereavement in contemporary Japanese society. Mortality, 15 (4), pp. 275-293. Mortality is available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13576275.2010.513161; Valentine_Mortality_2010_15_4_275.doc: This is an electronic version of an article published in Valentine, C. A., 2010. The role of the ancestral tradition in bereavement in contemporary Japanese society. Mortality, 15 (4), pp. 275-293. Mortality is available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13576275.2010.513161
    RefereedYes
    StatusPublished
    ID Code25157

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