Private sorrow in the public domain: the growing phenomenon of roadside memorials

Susan Welsh

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

The focus of this research was the growing phenomenon of roadside memorials, their meanings and roles in the bereavement process. An exploratory, qualitative study, it examined the meanings attributed to the memorials, drawing on hermeneutics and phenomenology. Critical social work theory also formed a major part of the conceptual framework.
Findings from a thematic analysis of data from fourteen semi-structured interviews, which explored the lived experience of people who have placed roadside memorials, were considered in the light of findings from a visual analysis of fifty memorial sites and a comprehensive literature review. This triangulation of methods supported a rigorous approach to the interpretations of the findings and conclusions drawn.
Roadside memorials are important in bereavement for the people who construct them, reinforcing that grieving is a personal and individual experience. Moreover, the findings support the newer theories of grief, emphasising the role of both continuing bonds and meaning-making. Implications for policy and practice conclude the thesis.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Bowles, Wendy, Principal Supervisor
  • Osburn, Lynelle, Principal Supervisor
Award date18 Jun 2017
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2017

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