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Article
Peer-Review Record

The Function of Ritualized Acts of Memory Making after Death in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Religions 2021, 12(12), 1046; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121046
Reviewer 1:
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1046; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121046
Submission received: 1 October 2021 / Revised: 15 November 2021 / Accepted: 17 November 2021 / Published: 25 November 2021

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

The topic of this paper is relevant and innovative, but the structure of the paper does not reach academic standards. 

  1. At the end of the introduction (lines 69-73) the research question seems to be "if memory making through... could be interpreted as a form of ritualization" However, in section 2.3 another research question pops up: "What is at stake..." This RQ seems to be bottom-up (parents and nurses determine what kind of meanings are attached to these practices), but yet the researchers call this a deductive approach. In my opinion, the research question should be about the function of the practices at the NICU.
  2. The aim of the study (see line 71) seems to be quite academic, on a meta-level: can the concept of ritualization be applied to the practices at the NICU? Yes, of course and that is what the authors do throughout the article. The aim should be: to understand these practices and to draft recommendations for wider use (or something like that) .
  3. A theoretical framework is missing. The authors use the concepts of ritual and ritualization, but a reflection on the differences is missing. Some theory is presented in section 4 (Discussion), but that is not the right place. Basic articles and books from ritual studies (Grimes, Bell) and memory studies are lacking. What kind of ritual are we looking at? The first ritual is "giving birth", that is the liminal phase (Van Gennep). Are the scrapbooks and the boxes a gift to the parents, do all parents accept this gift. Also missing is the broader context of the society: is the recognition through the scrapbook needed because society does not recognize parenthood, because of the uneasiness of friends and family. Does the scrapbook have a function in this broader context?
  4. There is a lot of repetition in the text. Many times I read that the scrapbook functions as recognition of the life of the baby and the parenthood. Many times the authors refer to Thornton et al. The text is not to-the-point at all. 
  5. The description of the phase of analysis is not clear. What is meant with "reflexive thematic analysis" and with "latent thematic analysis". 
  6. Are the interviewees anonimyzed? Line 217: nurse Hannah; line 225: nurse Linda Hannah (there are many typos and mistakes in the text). Also line 495: Focault - who is that?
  7. Line 402: Chaos - what is the academic status of this 'concept'?
  8. In section 4.1.1 the authors limit the functions of rituals to life-changing events and transformations, but that is only part of the story. Rituals are performed to please the Gods, to protest, to confirm the status quo etc. Here, the lacking of theoretical reflection is clearly visible. 

Author Response

Please see the attachment.

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Reviewer 2 Report

This is a fine study, but the paper should be shortened. There is too much repetition, in both the descriptions of the practices, and the theories of ritualizing. Also, there are a few issues with English usage. But the idea of linking this emergent hospital service to bereaved parents with the theme of ritualizing is a good one.

Author Response

Please see the attachment.

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Round 2

Reviewer 1 Report

The article has improved a lot, compliments for taking effort and dealing with my (critical) comments in the first round. I have added a few remarks in the text (at the first few pages). I still doubt about the focus on liminality, I see more functions of the ritualizations, but that is something for scholarly discussion. 

Comments for author File: Comments.pdf

Author Response

Please see the attachment.

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

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