Death and mourning in technologically mediated culture

Gibson, Margaret
December 2007
Health Sociology Review;Dec2007, Vol. 16 Issue 5, p415
Academic Journal
This paper examines the expansion of death and grief from private experience and spaces, into more public spheres via a range of media events and communication technologies. This shift is increasingly acknowledged and documented in death studies and media research. The modern experience of 'sequestered death' has passed. Death images and events are now thoroughly mediated by the visual and communication technologies used and accessed by a vast number of citizens across the globe. At the same time, the proliferation and accessibility of death imagery and narratives does not necessarily mean that the Western world has moved forward and beyond 'death denial'. Indeed, one of the key arguments of this paper is that mediated death - death as televisual, cinematic, and journalistic image and narrative - does not necessarily equate to a familiarity, and especially an existential acceptance of death, as it is faced and experienced in everyday life and relationships. Indeed, what we may be facing, and witnessing, is a widening gap and experiential differential between media/technological death culture and 'real life' contexts and temporalities of death and bereavement.


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