Virtual Afterlives: Grieving the Dead in the Twenty-First Century

Virtual Afterlives: Grieving the Dead in the Twenty-First Century

by Candi K. Cann

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Overview

For millennia, the rituals of death and remembrance have been fixed by time and location, but in the twenty-first century, grieving has become a virtual phenomenon. Today, the dead live on through social media profiles, memorial websites, and saved voicemails that can be accessed at any time. This dramatic cultural shift has made the physical presence of death secondary to the psychological experience of mourning.

Virtual Afterlives investigates emerging popular bereavement traditions. Author Candi K. Cann examines new forms of grieving and evaluates how religion and the funeral industry have both contributed to mourning rituals despite their limited ability to remedy grief. As grieving traditions and locations shift, people are discovering new ways to memorialize their loved ones. Bodiless and spontaneous memorials like those at the sites of the shootings in Aurora and Newtown and the Boston Marathon bombing, as well as roadside memorials, car decals, and tattoos are contributing to a new bereavement language that crosses national boundaries and culture-specific perceptions of death.

Examining mourning practices in the United States in comparison to the broader background of practices in Asia and Latin America, Virtual Afterlives seeks to resituate death as a part of life and mourning as a unifying process that helps to create identities and narratives for communities. As technology changes the ways in which we experience death, this engaging study explores the culture of bereavement and the ways in which it, too, is being significantly transformed.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813168326
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 11/19/2015
Series: Material Worlds
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 212
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Candi K. Cann is assistant professor of religion in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core at Baylor University. She specializes in comparative religion, death, and bereavement and is the author of The World Religions: Essential Readings and Handbook.

Table of Contents

Introduction
The Bodiless Memorial: The Dis-location of the Body
Wearing the Dead
Moving the Dead
Speaking to the Dead: Social Network Sites and Public Grieving
Grieving the Dead in Alternative Spaces

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