Culture, contexts and connections: A conversation with Dennis Klass about his life and work as a bereavement scholar

Edith Maria Steffen, Dennis Klass

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This article is a conversation between Edith Maria Steffen and Dennis Klass, one of the originators of the continuing bonds model in bereavement. Steffen and Klass recently co-edited a new anthology on continuing bonds that follows the developments in the continuing bonds model of grief over the last two decades. Klass got into the field of bereavement studies initially through working with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and continued by engaging in ethnographic research with a self-help group of bereaved parents. Trying to make sense of the parents’ experiences, he tested different theories against the data from the bereaved parents, which led him to discard conventional theories and instead apply what he saw in Japanese ancestor rituals to the practices of the bereaved parents. Klass discusses how the idea of continuing bonds was born, how the 1996 publication came about, how it was received, and how he took this work further. He looks back on his life and work and looks ahead towards work that still needs to be done. The conversation then turns to Klass’ idea that consolation is a neglected area in bereavement and ends with Klass giving advice to novice bereavement scholars, which could be summarised in his motto, follow the data.

© 2018, Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. The attached document (embargoed until 28/05/2019) is an author produced version of a paper published in MORTALITY uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link below. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2018

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