"Talking about his dead child, again!" Emotional self-management in relation to online mourning

  • Tobias Raun Communication Studies, Roskilde University
Keywords: Facebook, Mourning, Self-management, Death, online emotions

Abstract

This paper explores a group of Dane’s motives for and experiences with using their personal Facebook profile to cope with the death of a close relative, based on extensive semi-structured media-go-along interviews. The focus of the article is on what I label emotional self-management, which came up repeatedly during the interviews as an integrated part of mourning online. It is argued that Facebook is used as an outlet for expressing thoughts and feelings that are often experienced as bypassed or silenced in off-line social interactions. However, these expressions of grief take place within a techno-social space, where one balances on a tight line between an allowed enactment of a private public self and a denigrated enactment of an oversharing, too transgressive intimate self. One is allowed to mourn but not excessively. In trying to balance sharing but not oversharing it is argued that the interviewees engage in continous dialog with multiple internal and external others.

Author Biography

Tobias Raun, Communication Studies, Roskilde University

Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Roskilde University, Denmark, and the editor of the “New Media” section of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly (Duke University Press). He has published a book with Routledge entitled Out Online: Trans Self-Representation and Community Building on YouTube (2016). He is the co-editor of a forthcoming anthology (in 2017) Mediated Intimacies: Connectivities, Relationalities, Proximities, Routledge Studies in European Communication Research and Education Series. In this anthology he contributes with a chapter entitled: "Connecting with the dead: Vernacular practices of mourning through photo-sharing on Facebook”. The chapter is part of a forthcoming line of publications from his current research on “memory and mourning in the age of mediatization”.

Published
2017-10-31
How to Cite
Raun, T. (2017). "Talking about his dead child, again!" Emotional self-management in relation to online mourning. First Monday, 22(11). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v22i11.7810