1st Edition

Death as Entertainment Young People and Death Awareness

Edited By Gareth R. Schott Copyright 2023

    This book explores the moral and representational issues associated with engaging young people with popular media depictions of death and dying.

    Emotionally charged depictions of death play an important role in contemporary media directed toward teen and young adult audiences. Across creative works as diverse as interactive digital games, graphic novels, short form serial narratives, television and films, young people gain opportunities to engage with representations of death. In some cases, representations of death, dying, and the decision to end one’s own life have been subject to public outcry and criticism related to its perceived potential impact on impressionable audiences. Death in/as entertainment can also be fleeting, commonplace and used for humour making it trivial. The chapters in this volume particularly consider the types of engagement made possible through different contemporary creative mediums and the ways in which they might distinctively capture or arouse thoughts and feelings on the end and loss of a human life.

    Death as Entertainment will appeal to researchers and students interested in new media and its cultural and psychological impact. The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Mortality.

    Introduction— ‘I know death. He’s got many faces:’ The presence of death in young peoples’ media

    Gareth Schott

    1. Under pressure: representations of student suicide in British documentary television

    Kay Calver and Bethan Michael-Fox

    2. ‘Closed world, wounds open. Open world, wounds closed’: metacultural commentaries on digital media and youth suicide in Jan Komasa’s Suicide Room

    M. F. Alvarez

    3. Suicide-memes as exemplars of the everyday inauthentic relationship with death

    Nicholas Smith and Shannah Linker

    4. From heterosexualisation to memorialisation: queer history and moral maturation in Young Adult literature about the AIDS crisis

    Gabriel Duckels

    5. ‘Death from all sides’: spectacle, morality, and trauma in Suzanne Collins’ the Hunger Games trilogy

    Kirstine Moffat and Melody May

    6. Death and the Plague in The Story of Wanderings

    Alesha Serada

    7. ‘I can’t breathe’: the biopolitics and necropolitics of breath during 2020

    Stefka Hristova and Amy L. Howard


    Gareth R. Schott is Professor in Screen and Media Studies at the University of Waikato in Aotearoa, New Zealand. As a media psychologist, he holds an interest in both the psychological impact of media but also the role of creative media in exploring human psychology and psychological knowledge.