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Soc. Sci. 2015, 4(4), 1127-1139; doi:10.3390/socsci4041127

Who Wants to Live Forever? Living, Dying and Grieving in Our Digital Society

Department of Sociology, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK
Academic Editor: Emilie Whitaker
Received: 21 July 2015 / Revised: 8 November 2015 / Accepted: 18 November 2015 / Published: 20 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beyond the Negativity of Death: Towards a New Necropolitics)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [664 KB, uploaded 20 November 2015]

Abstract

Almost ubiquitous hardware technology, such as smart phones, ensures that social networking sites are part of users’ everyday norms and routines. However, some are now using these new communication technologies to deal with the issues of death, dying and grief. With the hope of being able to create digital memories to leave behind for future generations, the opportunity to “live on” and become digitally immortal is seen as empowering to some: but what about those left behind? Through a review of the current literature exploring how social media are being used as a new space to grieve and mourn, this paper contributes to the literature by arguing for the need for clarity in the lexicon being used by thanatologists and other disciplines. Furthermore, it introduces the term “digital zombie” to describe the dead who remain “alive” in our digital society. The paper concludes by joining the call for further research into the nascent phenomena being generated by human-computer interaction. View Full-Text
Keywords: thanatechnology; death; digital zombie; online grieving; digital immortality; digital afterlife; digital memories thanatechnology; death; digital zombie; online grieving; digital immortality; digital afterlife; digital memories
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Bassett, D.J. Who Wants to Live Forever? Living, Dying and Grieving in Our Digital Society. Soc. Sci. 2015, 4, 1127-1139.

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