Concluding Points: Theoretical Models, Social Reality, and Everyday Practice
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The concluding chapter summarizes the key points, both of the theoretical model and of the empirical investigation into online bereavement communities. It concludes that there is an implicit individualistic bias in most emotion theory and research. The authors’ theoretical development demonstrates that any cultural frame that is placed on individual feelings in fact emerges from the micro-dynamics of interaction, and, thus, should be considered a collective achievement. A position which acknowledges the collective and processual dimension of individuals’ emotional experiences implies a particular understanding of agency: instead of focusing on isolated individuals and their pre-established dispositions imprinted through primary socialization, it calls for taking into consideration the continuous constitutive role happening between people when they interact with others, in particular the role of emotional pressures (in terms of affective sanctioning) and the bonds that emerge from social interactions between members of a status group. Practical implications of this claim are presented, including those relevant for moderators of digital support groups, healthcare professionals dealing with parents after perinatal loss, and, more generally, policy practice. It is argued that effective intervention must consider the collective nature of social life and recognize that individual practices are intrinsically grounded in group dynamics.
KeywordsAgency Digital support groups Online moderators Healthcare Perinatal loss Policy practice
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