Death in Contemporary Popular Culture: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Death in Contemporary Popular Culture

1st Edition

Edited by Adriana Teodorescu, Michael Hviid Jacobsen


280 pages

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Hardback: 9780367185855
pub: 2019-12-20
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With intense and violent portrayals of death becoming ever more common on television and in cinema and the growth of death-centric movies, series, texts, songs and video clips attracting a wide and enthusiastic global reception, we might well ask whether death has ceased to be a taboo. What makes thanatic themes so desirable in popular culture? Do representations of the macabre and gore perpetuate or sublimate violent desires? Has contemporary popular culture removed our unease with death? Can social media help us to cope with our mortality, or can music and art present death as an aesthetic phenomenon? This volume adopts an interdisciplinary approach to the discussion of the social, cultural, aesthetic and theoretical aspects of the ways in which in popular culture understands, represents and manages death, bringing together contributions from around the world focused on television, cinema, popular literature, social media and the internet, art, music and advertising.

Table of Contents


Preface and acknowledgements

List of Contributors

Introduction: Death as a Topic in Contemporary Popular Culture

Adriana Teodorescu and Michael Hviid Jacobsen

Part 1: Collective attitudes towards and responses to death and mortality

1. Thoughts for the Times on the Death Taboo - Trivialisation, Tivolisation and Re-Domestication in the Age of Spectacular Death

Michael Hviid Jacobsen

2.A Stark and Lonely Death’ - Representations of Dying Alone in Popular Culture

Glenys Caswell

3. Celebrity Deaths and the Thanatological Imagination

Ruth Penfold-Mounce

4. The Penguinand the Wahine- Shipwrecks, Resilience and Popular Culture

Ruth McManus, Denise Blake and David Johnston

Part 2: Aesthetical aspects and mythical structures

5. Healing Comes from Paradise - Illness, Cures and the Staving Off of Death in Naturist Remedies Advertising

Cristina Douglas

6. The Aesthetics of Corpses in Popular Culture

Devaleena Kundu

7. Into the Dark Side of Pop Art - From Warhol to Banksy

Florina Codreanu

8. Towards a Cultural Theory of Killing - The Event of Killing in Quentin Tarantino’s Movies

Martin Bartelmus

Part 3: Death as a significant narrative device

9. ‘The Radio Said: ‘There’s Another Shot Dead’’ - Popular Culture, ‘Rebel’ Songs and Death in Irish Memory

Eileen Moore Quinn

10. Locating Death in Children’s Animated Films

Panagiotis Pentaris

11. Death in Don DeLillo’s White Noise - A Literary Diagnosis of Contemporary Death Culture

Michael Hviid Jacobsen and Nicklas Runge

12. Narratives of Death and Immortality in the ‘Islamic State’ Discourse on Twitter

Adriana Teodorescu



About the Editors

Adriana Teodorescu is Associate Lecturer in the Faculty of Sociology at Babe?-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. She is the editor of Death within the Text. Social, Philosophical and Aesthetic Approaches to Literature, Death Representations in Literature. Forms and Theories, and co-editor of Dying and Death in 18th-21st Century Europe and Dying and Death in 18th-21st Century Europe: Volume 2.

Michael Hviid Jacobsen is Professor of Sociology at Aalborg University, Denmark. He is the editor of The Poetics of Crime and Postmortal Society, and co-editor of The Sociology of Zygmunt Bauman, Encountering the Everyday, The Transformation of Modernity, Utopia: Social Theory and the Future, Liquid Criminology, Towards a Criminology of the Emotions, Exploring Grief: Towards a Sociology of Sorrow,and Imaginative Methodologies: The Poetic Imagination in the Social Sciences.

About the Series

The Cultural Politics of Media and Popular Culture

Dedicated to a renewed engagement with culture, this series fosters critical, contextual analyses and cross-disciplinary examinations of popular culture as a site of cultural politics. It welcomes theoretically grounded and critically engaged accounts of the politics of contemporary popular culture and the popular dimensions of cultural politics. Without being aligned to a specific theoretical or methodological approach, The Cultural Politics of Media and Popular Culture publishes monographs and edited collections that promote dialogues on central subjects, such as representation, identity, power, consumption, citizenship, desire and difference. Offering approachable and insightful analyses that complicate race, class, gender, sexuality, (dis)ability and nation across various sites of production and consumption, including film, television, music, advertising, sport, fashion, food, youth, subcultures and new media, The Cultural Politics of Media and Popular Culture welcomes work that explores the importance of text, context and subtext as these relate to the ways in which popular culture works alongside hegemony.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General