Douglas Davies’ Transcultural Model of Grief


  • Auli Vähäkangas



Grief research on continuing emotional bonds between the deceased and the bereaved has mainly used concepts and theories developed in the Western world with a few exceptions from the Majority world as well. The concept of dividuality or multiple personhood of a bereaved person is used in various Asian societies. The aim of this chapter is to analyse what Davies means with his model and to evaluate the transcultural nature of it. The results of this chapter show that Davies stresses embodied rituals because the starting point of dividual personhood is the inner complexity of a person. Davies challenges a Western word-centred individual to reconstruct identity and find new meaning in life after bereavement. Dividual grief is a good beginning when searching for transcultural models of grief.  It is, however, not based on first-hand empirical research on a specific culture, which makes the transcultural aspects in it very descriptive. I am waiting for practical theological colleagues from the Majority world to start formulating models of grief based on their own cultural backgrounds. Models that are strongly grounded in a specific culture are really needed in order to understand such a central theological topic.