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Research Seminar: Dr Johanna Sumiala, University of Helsinki
Mediating Death – but who wants to live forever?

In this talk, I am interested in the kind of mediated death that addresses public attention in digital media, whether through online news stories by journalists or posts uploaded on social networks, such as YouTube, by ordinary people. Hannah Arendt (1990 [1958]) argues that the public is the essence of the social. Today, not only journalists but also ordinary people using diverse digital media platforms have the means to establish and participate in public communication between life and death and, therefore, shape social reality as it pertains to the loss of life and how it impacts the living. In this talk I explore the ways in which the idea of exceptional and public death is currently negotiated and ritualised in modern society. I conclude by discussing the ultimate quest for immortality, considering what it means for the living to be capable of digitally expanding the boundary between life and death and asking what it means to live in a ‘post-mortal society’.

May 12, 2021 04:00 PM in London

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