Alternative Memorials: Death and Memory in Contemporary America

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Title: Alternative Memorials: Death and Memory in Contemporary America
Author: Dobler, Robert, 1980-
Abstract: Alternative forms of memorialization offer a sense of empowerment to the mourner, bringing the act of grieving into the personal sphere and away from the clinical or official realm of funeral homes and cemeteries. Constructing a spontaneous shrine allows a mourner to create a meaningful narrative of the deceased's life, giving structure and significance to a loss that may seem chaotic or meaningless in the immediate aftermath. These vernacular memorials also function as focal points for continued communication with the departed and interaction with a community of mourners that blurs distinctions between public and private spheres. I focus my analysis on MySpace pages that are transformed into spontaneous memorials in the wake of a user's death, the creation of "ghost bikes" at the sites of fatal bicycle-automobile collisions, and memorial tattooing, exploring the ways in which these practices are socially constructed innovations on the traditional material forms of mourning culture.
Description: x, 89 p. A print copy of this thesis is available through the UO Libraries. Search the library catalog for the location and call number.
Date: 2010-09

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