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Type: Journal article
Title: A grief that cannot be shared: continuing relationships with aborted foetuses in contemporary Vietnam
Author: Heathcote, A.
Citation: Thanatos, 2014; 3(1):29-45
Publisher: Finnish Death Studies Association
Issue Date: 2014
ISSN: 2242-6280
Statement of
Anthony Heathcote
Abstract: For Vietnamese women who undergo an abortion, the deeply distressing experience can be extenuated by the stigmatisation of abortion and the disenfranchisement of grief relating to it. Abortion is a sensitive subject in Vietnam, embedded in moral ambiguities concerning youth sexual activities and the ancestral relationship the Vietnamese have with the dead. The aborted fetus is not easily reconciled with the act of ancestor worship and questions arise as to how women express their grief and if a continuing relationship should be sustained with the aborted fetus. Based on twelve months, ethnographic research, this article contends that some Vietnamese women are continuing a relationship with their aborted fetus within the online memorial Nghia Trang Online as a way of performing ancestor worship and expressing their grief. Through the theory of durable biography and disenfranchised grief, it will be demonstrated that a continuing relationship is formed through communication and online offerings to express grief, ask for forgiveness, share past and present experiences, and through prayer and guidance for the fetus in the otherworld.
Rights: © Suomalaisen Kuolemantutkimuksen Seura Ry. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
RMID: 0030021236
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Appears in Collections:Asian Studies publications

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