Death and The Internet

Social Isolation

This project examines the role of Internet and other communication technologies in the experience of death, grieving and memorialisation.

Death provides a uniquely important perspective from which to understand social life, and its gravitas renders other events and activities relatively inconsequential. So, if we are interested in the online experience of life we have much to learn from the online experience of death.

People's experiences of death and death related practices are currently subjected to two contradictory trends:

  1. As communities tied to a traditional notion of place are eroded so the social structures supporting communion and a whole gamut of felt practices including grieving, mourning and remembrance are disembedded.
  2. Yet the rise of networked individualism through broadband technologies and services also supports new connectivities, networks and practices and therefore potential support through networked communities.

This project will examine the contradictions in this landscape by standing at the crucial intersection of broadband and death.

Research Team

  • Martin Gibbs
  • Connor Graham
  • Michael Arnold (Philosophy, Anthropology and Social Inquiry)
  • Tamarah Kohn (Philosophy, Anthropology and Social Inquiry)
  • R Scheepers

Project Information

Funding source Institute for a Broadband Enabled Society (IBES)
Project Timeframe 2010-2012

Contact Details

Martin Gibbs
Email
martin.gibbs@unimelb.edu.au