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Journal of African American Studies

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 300–320 | Cite as

We who are Strangers: Insights into how Diasporic Nigerians Experience Bereavement Loss

  • Buster C. Ogbuagu
Articles

Abstract

Death and dying are respectable normative components of the human and living condition. Regardless of how the dying is accomplished, those who are mourners bear a significant burden of the loss, contingent on several variables, but especially the level of attachment to the deceased. This loss is accommodated or exacerbated depending on culture, social location, and degree of importance accorded to the bereavement. In the case of Diasporic Nigerians all over the world, the bereavement process is a long and arduous one due to their social location outside of their cultural home. Using bereavement theory, this phenomenological and ethnographic study attempts to elicit an understanding of how Nigerians in the Diaspora experience bereavement loss when it happens in the Diaspora but especially in their far away homeland. The study found that Diasporic Nigerians experience bereavement loss differently from those of their host countries. Poignantly, such bereavement loss produce significant stressors than those from mainstream host countries, contingent on social location, absence of culturally relevant mourning rituals, distance to cultural homeland, consanguinal ties, cultural expectations, and financial burden for completing rituals and rites of passages. The study has cultural competency implications and applications for exploring nonlinear ways of revisiting and understanding Diasporic bereavement loss, and the deployment of culturally sensitive and relevant social work practices and interventions with such minority populations.

Keywords

Diasporic status Bereavement loss Social and cultural location and alienation Mourning rituals and rites Lived experience 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Social WorkUniversity of St. FrancisJolietUSA

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