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Mourning, Affect, Sociality: On the Possibilities of Open Grief

By Zoë Wool

Cite As:
Wool, Zoë. 2020. “Mourning, Affect, Sociality: On the Possibilities of Open Grief”. Cultural Anthropology 35 (1):40–47.


This essay examines mourning and the possibilities for open grief among veterans, asking how the traces of what has been lost persist into the present in ways that find no easy resolution. It questions the normative value of an end to mourning, proposing instead that grief—and indeed our anthropological formulations of the meaning of such affects and events—might be held open, trace and memory maintained, imagining recognition as something open-ended that might recast discomfort as the potential for a different kind of sociality.


affect; mourning; veterans