Journal Article

New Memory Cultures and Death: Existential Security in the Digital memory Ecology



It is often claimed that modern media massively return the repressed yet unavoidable fact of death, which modernity had institutionalised and placed out of sight. Death is everywhere in the media age: in news, in fiction, and not least in the budding practices of sociality and memory on the internet. This article will revolve around what we may learn about media and death from the vantage point of how memory cultures are currently being transformed. Spanning a heterogeneous terrain, the ‘digital memory ecology’ comprises among other things the construction of a digital afterlife, commemorative communities of grief and remembrance, interaction in guest books, digital candles and commentary fields on digital memorials. This article argues that today death is far from the hidden supplement to culture as Zygmunt Bauman contends or that it is even making a mediated return to us, but is rather ubiquitous in the digital age. As such it is both de-sequestered and deferred. By launching the deliberately ambiguous concept of existential security , the article outlines a research agenda for how we may approach these tendencies.

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  • Type:
    Journal Article (peer reviewed)
  • Journal:
    Thanatos, Vol 2, Issue 2.
  • Pages:
  • Published:
  • Language:

About the Author

Amanda Lagerkvist

Amanda Lagerkvist is an Associate Professor of Media and Communication Studies and Wallenberg Academy Fellow in the Department of Media Studies at Stockholm University. . With a PhD from Stockholm University in 2005, she had a two-year postdoc the... Read more


Lagerkvist, A. (2013). New Memory Cultures and Death: Existential Security in the Digital memory Ecology. Thanatos, 2(2), pp. 1-17.