Shuffling Off This Networked Coil: An Examination of Facebook’s Role in Changing Understandings and Experiences of Death and Dying

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dc.contributor.advisor Goode, L en Durbin, Samuel en 2013-02-28T22:02:41Z en 2013 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description Full text is available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland only. en
dc.description.abstract Facebook’s immense popularity and staggering growth has seen it cross the 1 billion active users mark, and with hundreds of thousands of people dying every day, it is inevitable that the problem of death will confront many users eventually, if it already hasn’t. Facebook has particular methods of dealing with the death of users, but there is something more significant happening. This thesis assesses the gradual changes occurring in Western societies in their approach to grief and dying, and critically examines the role that Facebook plays in this change. The transformative powers of late-19th and early-20th century capitalism shifted Western approaches to grief from a more community-based phenomenon to a medicalised one where grief is treated as an illness and the emphasis is on ‘moving on’ and getting back to work. Similarly, the experiences of terminal illnesses and suicide have traditionally been closed-down, inaccessible for many, and marginalised to out-of-the-way areas. Since the 1980s, however, I argue there has been a slow but growing resistance to these closed-down modes of grief to one that is more open and enfranchising, that focuses on narrativisation and memorialisation of the deceased. This need to narrativise has also changed the way people understand their own looming deaths. These changes require new spaces to function in, however, and Facebook has come to fill that need, forming tripartite scaffolding – cognitive, social, and cultural – to support and direct these changes. In examining this I utilise Clark’s cyborg theory and Manovich’s software studies to develop a framework for understanding the cognitive scaffolding Facebook provides. I then use Gershon’s concepts of idioms of practice and media ideologies as well as Hogan’s reformulation of Goffman’s impression management as exhibition to formulate understandings of how Facebook provides social and cultural scaffolding. This framework reveals that Facebook has an integral role, beyond that of a simple platform, in changing understandings and experiences of death and dying. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof Masters Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights Restricted Item. Available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland. en
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dc.title Shuffling Off This Networked Coil: An Examination of Facebook’s Role in Changing Understandings and Experiences of Death and Dying en
dc.type Thesis en The University of Auckland en Masters en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The Author en
pubs.elements-id 373757 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2013-03-01 en

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