Death and Relationships

BSA Social Aspects of Death, Dying and Bereavement Study Group Annual Symposium

5 December 2019
University of Sheffield

About the Event

While physical death occurs to the embodied individual, those who die and those who knew the deceased are embedded within a wider network of relationships. As such, a developing body of sociological literature recognises the value of looking beyond the individual in the context of death and dying. Applying relational perspectives to the end of life can develop our understanding of both the living and the deceased, as well as the connection between the two. Yet it is important to acknowledge that  relationships extend beyond human interaction and can include bonds with a variety of non-human ‘others’ such as pets, projects, places and material objects. These connections play a significant role in everyday life, be it positive or negative, but their salience in death, and dying in particular, requires further sociological exploration.

The day will open with a short screening and plenary session led-by The Good Grief Project discussing relationships in their film about grief A Love that Never Dies.

Call for Abstracts

The chosen topic for this year’s symposium is therefore an inclusive one and we welcome abstracts which interpret the theme of ‘relationships’ at the end of life broadly. The aim is to highlight research and practice that contributes to and extends thinking in this area. 

We invite researchers and practitioners to submit abstracts on the theme of relationships and death, dying and bereavement. Topics can include, but are not limited to:

  • Sex and intimacy
  • Materiality
  • Pet death/dying
  • Online relationships
  • Death care professionals and relationships with patients
  • Friendship
  • Kinship
  • Dying alone
  • Continuing bonds


Please submit abstracts of up to 250 words by Midnight (GMT) on Monday, 16 September 2019 to the DDB Study Group. Presentations will be 20 minutes long with additional time for questions.


The symposium will be held on Thursday, 5 December 2019 at the Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield. For venue details click here.

About the Study Group

More details about the study group can be found here.

For more information, contact the DDB Study Group.