The Rush to End Grief and What It Costs Us

Nancy Berns
Book Cover

PB: $27.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0577-7
Publication: Aug 11

HC: $81.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-0576-0
Publication: Aug 11

Ebook: $27.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0578-4

228 pages
6 x 9
1 table

Do we really need closure after bad things happen?

Read Chapter 1 (pdf).


When it comes to the end of a relationship, the loss of a loved one, or even a national tragedy, we are often told we need “closure.” But while some people do find closure for their pain and grief, many more feel closure does not exist and believe the notion only promises false hopes. Sociologist Nancy Berns explores these ideas and their ramifications in her timely book, Closure. Berns uncovers the various interpretations and contradictory meanings of closure. She identifies six types of “closure talk,” revealing closure as a socially constructed concept— a “new emotion.” Berns also explores how closure has been applied widely in popular media and how the idea has been appropriated as a political tool and to sell products and services. This book explains how the push for closure—whether we find it helpful, engaging, or enraging— is changing our society.

Table of Contents

Preface: My Own Tangled Story A cknowledgments 1. Seeking Closure 2. Closure and Its Tangled Meanings 3. The Walking Wounded and Myth Slayers: Those Who Say There Is No Closure 4. From Embalming to Teddy Bear Urns: Selling Closure in the Twenty-First-Century Death Care Industry 5. The Assurance Business: Creating Worry and Selling Closure 6. Bury the Jerk: Symbolic Death and Mock Vengeance as Relationship Advice 7. Should You Watch an Execution or Forgive a Murderer? Closure Talk and Death Penalty Politics 8. Forgetting versus Remembering: Politics of Mourning, Sacred Space, and Public Memory 9. Framing Grief beyond Closure Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author(s)

Nancy Berns is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Drake University in Des Moines. Her teaching and research interests are in areas of grief, death, violence, justice, and social constructionism. She is the author of Framing the Victim: Domestic Violence, Media and Social Problems.