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– digitalization of mourning rituals in virtual environments Nordic Network of Thanatology 24.-26.11.2010 Aalborg, Denmark Anna Haverinen, PhD student.

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Presentation on theme: "– digitalization of mourning rituals in virtual environments Nordic Network of Thanatology 24.-26.11.2010 Aalborg, Denmark Anna Haverinen, PhD student."— Presentation transcript:

1 – digitalization of mourning rituals in virtual environments Nordic Network of Thanatology Aalborg, Denmark Anna Haverinen, PhD student University of Turku/University Consortium of Pori Digital Culture Memoria Virtualis

2 Background Subject from my master's thesis In memoriam – virtual memorials as private, public and virtual spaces (2009) Historical context, virtual anthropology Methods:  Virtual ethnography and phenomenography → experience  (Participant) observation, screenshots, video and interviews Theories:  Social constructivism  Immanuel Kant: transcendential idealism (perception of world and things are depending of previous information)

3 3 Research Questions Why virtual memorials are being created?  Evolution of ”old” rituals? How and if the concept of memorial changes in virtual environments?  Concept of virtuality vs. concept of afterlife: analogical, opposite or synonyms? What systems of meanings are associated in virtual memorials?  Constructed identities? Ritual and rites of passage? Intentional activity and creation of collective support and mourning?

4 4 Division of Research Material Only private memorials, no public figures or fan material Finnish realm, international context: internet doesn't have state lines Virtual Ceremonies Communal conduct: gatherings and memorial services in virtual environments (e.g. Online-games) Unintentional Memorials Memorials created around the virtual activity of the deceased (e.g. blogs, YouTube-videos, Facebook-profile) Intentional Memorials Intentionally created virtual memorials and memorial websites (e.g. Memory-Of.com, VirtualMemorials.com, shrines and features in online- games)

5 5 Discourse of Virtual Memorials Notions of appropriate vs. inappropriate: – death as a ”matter of the family” – ”it's not real!” → CMC discourse from 1980´s – ”it's for the young” Honoring as a medium for constructing the identity of the deceased – Positive attitudes: Internet as a ”natural” way to communicate, search help and care, keep privacy, show condolence and ”keep face”? – Negative attitudes: Internet as technology understood as dangerous, too public, ”difficult”, ”impersonal”?

6 6 Example 1. Memorial Services in Online Role-Playing Games (case of World of Warcraft) Picture:

7 7 Picture: Anna Haverinen, screenshot, Example 1. Memorial Services in Online Role- Playing Games (case of Second Life)

8 8 Example 2. Shrine of the Fallen Warrior (case of World of Warcraft) Pictures:

9 9 Example 3. Memorial Websites Picture: Anna Haverinen, screenshot, 2007.

10 10 Example 4. Memorial videos (case of Aces High II) Aces High II -memorial for 'Tailspin', 13 yr old girl, Randi Lynn McKenna Picture: Anna Haverinen, screenshot,

11 11 Example 5. Social media (case of Facebook) Picture: Anna Haverinen, screenshot,

12 12 Virtual Mourning A demand for different services - blogs, honorary groups, discussion boards, virtual gatherings, virtual scrapbooking, virtual candles Need for communal support, chanels to process death, dying and bereavement Reasons? - Accessibility? Speed? Availability? Anonymousness? Need for mourning also among friends and colleagues, not just the immediate family

13 13 Thank you for your attention!


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