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Post-mortem social death - exploring the absence of the deceased

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  • Annika Jonsson

Abstract

The concept of social death is commonly used to describe how individuals or groups are condemned to existential homelessness at the outskirts of ordinary, human society. This article, however, explores social death as post-mortem phenomenon in contemporary Sweden. It is well known that lives may be extended beyond the grave through the practices and beliefs of the living, but not all the dead gain a social existence. For various reasons the living may not wish or be able to construe continuing bonds with their deceased, and as a consequence the deceased disappear from social life. Depending on the circumstances, this could be painful to or a relief for the living. It may also go unnoticed. Based on both individual and group interviews, this article investigates why some face post-mortem social death and others do not, and what shades of post-mortem social death there might be.

Suggested Citation

  • Annika Jonsson, 2015. "Post-mortem social death - exploring the absence of the deceased," Contemporary Social Science, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(3), pages 284-295, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocxx:v:10:y:2015:i:3:p:284-295
    DOI: 10.1080/21582041.2015.1078117
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