#FUNERAL

Marcus Carter, Martin Gibbs, Bjorn Nansen, Michael Arnold

Abstract


In this paper we highlight preliminary findings from a study at the intersection of Instagram use and funerary practices. This study analyses photographs tagged with “#funeral” and contributes to research into death and digital media by extending the focus from social networking sites such as Facebook to consider the photo- sharing application Instagram, and how different media platforms are connected with the physical event of funerals. By categorizing photos tagged with “#funeral” on Instagram we show how media architecture and use shapes a complex ecology of grieving practices, with distinct differences from practices that have coalesced around other social media platforms. We consider the collision of digital culture and traditional memorializing practices, and suggest the need for further work that attends to the variety of social media being mobilized in death, grieving and commemoration, as well as to the ways platforms become entwined with physical places and rituals.

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