The pragmatics of bereavement

Yair Neuman, Meir Nadav, Yael Bessor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


In keeping with the Freudian heritage, the psychological study of mourning has traditionally been conducted from a mentalistic and subjectivist perspective. In this paper, we present an alternative to the mentalistic approach by reconsidering mourning from a socio-semiotic perspective that draws heavily on the early philosophical writings of Bakhtin. More specifically, we conceptualize mourning as a process of meaning-making. This conceptualization is illustrated through texts written by women who have experienced stillbirth. Our analysis points out the social illegitimacy of mourning for a stillborn, the related difficulties, and the way stillbirth mothers struggle to overcome these difficulties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1369-1384
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2006


  • Bakhtinian linguistic analysis
  • Mourning
  • Pragmatics and psychology
  • Stillbirth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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