The Politics of Sorrow : Families, Victims, and the Micro-Organization of Youth Homicide book cover
1st Edition

The Politics of Sorrow
Families, Victims, and the Micro-Organization of Youth Homicide

ISBN 9781138279520
Published November 16, 2016 by Routledge
208 Pages

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Book Description

Drawing on several years of research with grief support organizations and the families and friends of murdered children, this book examines the emotional experience of families in the aftermath of a homicide. It examines the politics of sorrow, offering a comparative analysis of White and African-American families as they navigate the experience of homicide, shedding light on the ways in which the class location or ethnicity of mourners affects their experience. Analyzing the manner in which police and other authorities differentially extend emotional support to bereaved families, notify them of a homicide, or assign blame, The Politics of Sorrow reveals how 'disenfranchised grief' comes to be an institutionalized outcome of their practice. The book further examines the effects of 'announcement shock' and the importance to the family of the moral career of the deceased, as they seek to manage his or her identity, often dealing with their grief through an active pursuit of justice in court, or through political involvement with a grief support organization, which mobilizes families in pursuit of its political ends. A rigorous study of stigma, identity, and stratified experiences of grief, The Politics of Sorrow will appeal to sociologists interested in interactionist methods, race, class, and emotion.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; The politics of sorrow; The social organization of bad news; Announcement shock and psychic numbing; Postmortem involvements; Identity management of the dead; Blame, accounts, and moral careers; From untamed to outlaw emotion; Feeling rules, organizational contradictions, and immobilization; Reflections; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.

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Daniel D. Martin is a faculty member in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, USA. He is co-author of Symbols, Selves, and Social Reality: A Symbolic Interactionist Approach to Social Psychology and Sociology.


’This wonderful book is rich in interview material and sociological analysis about the grief process for families of murdered children. The book is filled with insights about grieving, support groups, community relationships, family processes, relations with the police and other authorities, the place of the media, religion, culture, and issues of social class, race, and gender.’ Paul C. Rosenblatt, University of Minnesota, USA ’A masterpiece of interactionist theory and method applied to a poignant national tragedy, The Politics of Sorrow is a sensitive and compelling treatment of a tragic and difficult subject. Excellent and timely, this will stand as one of the most brilliant treatments of this heart-breaking phenomenon ever written.’ Charles Edgley, University of Arkansas, Little Rock, USA 'This book represents a point of departure for social problems theorists to more fully consider how emotions and personal identities are aspects of social problems claims-making. ... The Politics of Sorrow should be of interest to a variety of sociological audiences. The topic is compelling and has relevance to several different sociological specialties and perspectives. Martin’s writing style should be accessible to students as well as professional academics. ... I enjoyed reading this book and recommend it to others.' Symbolic Interaction