Life Writing & Death: Dialogues of the Dead

Mobilizing Grief and Remembrance with and for Networked Publics: towards a Typology of Hyper-Mourning

  • Korina Giaxoglou The Open University, UK
Keywords: mourning, memorialisation, affect, narrative

Abstract

The past decade has seen an intense mobilization of grief and remembrance on social media linked to the injunction to inscribe, share, and curate life and death in the here-and-now. This article navigates the heterogeneity of these practices, using the term hyper-mourning to point both to the conditioning of mourning by the affordances of hyper-connectivity and to debates around these emerging forms of mourning as being emotionally hyperbolic and ‘inauthentic’ reactions to death events. Based on the discussion of select examples, I sketch out a typology of hyper-mourning, depending on the different story positions of teller, co-teller, or witness from which such performances are produced. As I argue, these different performances become typically associated with particular modes of affective positioning made available to the recipients of these shared stories—namely positions of proximity or distance to the death event and the dead, the networked recipient(s), and the emotional self. This typology proposes a small stories approach to hyper-mourning practices, which are organized around the mobilization of grief and remembrance for connecting networked audiences around identities, affect, and moral values dis/alignments. The article contributes to the interdisciplinary study of digital cultures of memory, affect, and identities.

Author Biography

Korina Giaxoglou, The Open University, UK

Korina Giaxoglou is a Lecturer of English Language and Applied Linguistics at the Open University, UK, where she convenes the interdisciplinary Health Discourse Research Group. Her research focuses on story sharing, affective positioning, and mourning in folklore and social media communication. Her work has appeared in edited volumes, special issues, and peer-reviewed journals, including Discourse, Context and Media, Social Media + Society, and Pragmatics. Her research monograph, entitled A Narrative Approach to Social Media Mourning: Small Stories and Affective Positioning, is forthcoming from Routledge. E-mail: Korina.Giaxoglou@open.ac.uk.

Published
2020-07-06
Section
Life Writing & Death: Dialogues of the Dead