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How to measure social pain

July 14, 2017

An excerpt from an OUPblog article published on 7th July 2017, written by Rob Boddice, author of Pain: A Very Short Introduction.

Pain: A Very Short Introduction


"On Friday 24 June, 2016, I awoke in my Berlin apartment and eagerly logged on to see the news of the United Kingdom’s decision to remain in the European Union. As a British migrant who had called Germany home for 7 years of my adult life, I had come to have an acute sense of the importance of EU membership. While I could make any number of arguments in the abstract, at heart I had a personal vested interest in the Union, for it was my bread and butter. The news of a narrow majority in favour of Brexit was a profound shock. I grieved. The hollow, empty, gut-punched, sick feeling that leaves one weak and needing to sit and to hold one’s head in one’s hands: that was Brexit for me. The initial effect lasted a few hours. Afterwards, a benumbed sense of incredulity and denial set in, for many weeks, in which I daily looked for signs that the vote wasn’t binding, that there had been a terrible mistake, that what was done could be undone. While the terms of the departure are far from fixed, the denial is over, replaced by constant barbed reminders of what has been lost and of the meagre hopes of anything to be gained. Such are the painful stages of grief..."

Discover more: Read the rest of the article on the OUPblog.


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