Abstract - The Information Society 29(3)

Beyond the Grave: Facebook as a Site for the Expansion of Death and Mourning

Jed R. Brubaker, Gillian R. Hayes, and Paul Dourish

Online identities survive the deaths of those they represent, leaving friends and families to struggle with the appropriate ways to incorporate these identities into the practices of grief and mourning, raising important questions. How are practices of online memorialization connected to conventional rituals of grief and mourning? What is the role of online digital identity post-mortem? How do trajectories of death and dying incorporate both online and offline concerns? Based on our qualitative study of death and mourning online, we identify the way that social networking sites enable expansion – temporally, spatially, and socially – of public mourning. Rather than looking at online practices as disruptions of traditional practices of grief and memorialization, we examine them as new sites in which public mourning takes place.


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