Background

Tim Hutchings is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Existential Terrains program, studying death, memory and ideas of the afterlife in digital cultures. He also teaches on the Masters program in JMK.

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Research Interests

Dr Hutchings is a sociologist and ethnographer of digital religion. His research explores new digital forms of authority, community and ritual, the relationship between online and offline activity, and the role of media technologies in social change. His PhD (Durham University, 2010) was an ethnographic study of five online Christian churches, exploring the emergence of new religious practices and networks of belonging in social media and virtual worlds. His postdoctoral work has included studies of online storytelling and proselytism (Umeå University), Bible apps and Bible games (The Open University), and digital pilgrimage (Durham University). His study of death and bereavement began with ethnographic observations of mourning and memorialization within online communities, and has continued with studies of emotion, digital materiality and gender.

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Ongoing Research

Tim Hutchings is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Existential Terrains program, studying death, memory and ideas of the afterlife in digital memory cultures. His case studies include the Church of Sweden's digital projects to encourage new expressions of grief and memory; online discussion of grief among American Christian leaders; and digital memory practices among members of different religious traditions in Stockholm. Dr Hutchings is using these case studies to develop a new "existential" approach to the study of religion, media and culture, while challenging researchers interested in death and digital media to pay more nuanced attention to the role of religion in online bereavement practices.

The Existential Terrains program is led by Amanda Lagerkvist and funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation, and Stockholm University. For more information, see et.ims.su.se.

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