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

The Politics of Sorrow

Families, Victims, and the Micro-Organization of Youth Homicide, 1st Edition

By Daniel D. Martin


208 pages

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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.


’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

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.

About the Author

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.

About the Series

Interactionist Currents

Interactionist Currents
Interactionist Currents publishes contemporary interactionist works of exceptional quality to advance the state of symbolic interactionism. Rather than revisiting classical symbolic interactionist or pragmatist theory, however, this series extends the boundaries of interactionism by examining new empirical topics in subject areas that interactionists have not sufficiently examined; systematizing, organizing, and reflecting on the state of interactionist knowledge in subfields both central and novel within interactionist research; connecting interactionism with contemporary intellectual movements; and illustrating the contemporary relevance of interactionism in ways that are interesting, original, and enjoyable to read. Recognizing an honored and widely appreciated theoretical tradition, reflecting on its limitations, and opening new opportunities for the articulation of related perspectives and research agendas, this series presents work from across the social sciences that makes explicit use of interactionist ideas and concepts, interactionist research, and interactionist theory - both classical and contemporary.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General