The Grief of Nations: An analysis of how nations behave in the wake of loss: does it constitute grief?

  • Ann Malamah-Thomas

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD

Abstract

This dissertation is concerned with the question of whether nations grieve, whether the behaviour they exhibit in the wake of loss can be said to constitute grief. Initially exploring the concepts of both grief and nation in order to establish the feasibility of national grief as a notion, it goes on to examine the applicability of grief theory, traditionally developed in the context of the individual suffering bereavement, to large-scale national collectives which have undergone significant shared loss.The investigation is conducted with reference to two case studies: the Palestinian people in the aftermath of the loss of their land to the creation of Israel in the nakba of 1948; and Israel itself, as a manifestation of the European Jewish response to the holocaust and the centuries of loss and suffering which led up to it. In both cases, the relevant periods of history are scanned to see to what extent, if any, historical accounts reflect the contours and parameters of the grieving experience as the latter is described and defined in the grief theory literature. In addition, and serving to triangulate the evidence thus gleaned from national history, the contemporary visual arts of both nations, with their observation of and comment on the dominant features and issues of current national identity, are employed as data sources and explored with a view to ascertaining whether they reflect any themes expressive of or pertinent to collective historical loss and grief.The findings from this research into national history and identity within a grief experience framework may serve to open up a new direction for the further development of grief theory. They may also, in revealing the insights afforded by a grief theory perspective on long-term interactions within the global community, offer some contribution to the study of international relations.
Date of Award1 Jul 2011
LanguageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorTony Walter (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • collective grief
  • grief
  • ISrael
  • Palestine
  • nation
  • national identity

Cite this

The Grief of Nations: An analysis of how nations behave in the wake of loss: does it constitute grief?
Malamah-Thomas, A. (Author). 1 Jul 2011

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD