1st Edition

The Age of Spectacular Death

Edited By Michael Hviid Jacobsen Copyright 2021
    228 Pages
    by Routledge

    228 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book explores death in contemporary society – or more precisely, in the ‘spectacular age’ – by moving beyond classic studies of death that emphasised the importance of the death taboo and death denial to examine how we now ‘do’ death. Unfolding the notion of ‘spectacular death’ as characteristic of our modern approach to death and dying, it considers the new mediation or mediatisation of death and dying; the commercialisation of death as a ‘marketable commodity’ used to sell products, advance artistic expression or provoke curiosity; the re-ritualisation of death and the growth of new ways of finding meaning through commemorating the dead; the revolution of palliative care; and the specialisation surrounding death, particularly in relation to scholarship. Presenting a range of case studies that shed light on this new understanding of death in contemporary culture, The Age of Spectacular Death will appeal to scholars of sociology, cultural and media studies, psychology and anthropology with interests in death and dying.



    Preface and acknowledgements

    Notes on Contributors

    Introduction: The Whole World is Watching - Death in a Spectacular Age

    Michael Hviid Jacobsen

    1. If Death is the Spectacle, Big Tech is the Lens - How Social Media Frame an Age of ‘Spectacular Death’

    Elaine Kasket

    2. Resisting the Grave - Value and the Productive Celebrity Dead

    Ruth Penfold-Mounce and Rosie Smith

    3. Touring Heaven and Hell - Spectacular Encounters by Celebrities in Near-Death Experiences

    Jacque Lynn Foltyn

    4. The Proliferation of Skulls in Popular Culture - A Case Study of How the Traditional Symbol of Mortality was Rendered Meaningless

    Michael C. Kearl

    5. Immersive Dark Tourism Experiences - Storytelling at Dark Tourism Attractions in the Age of ‘The Immersive Death’

    Daniel William Mackenzie Wright

    6. Killing Humanity - Anthropocentrism and Apocalypse in Contemporary Cinema

    Dina Khapaeva

    7. Now Trending: #Massacre - On the Ethical Challenges of Spreading Spectacular Terrorism On New Media

    Tal Morse

    8. A Tale of Two Deaths - Spectacular Death and the Scene of Pain

    Arnar Árnason

    9. Spectacular Grief - On Three Main Trends in the Way We Deal With Loss in Contemporary Society

    Michael Hviid Jacobsen, Peter Clement Lund and Anders Petersen

    10. Freedom and Unavailability - The Art of Dying in the Age of Spectacular Death

    Carlo Leget

    Postscript: The Age of ‘Spectacular Death’ Revisited

    Michael Hviid Jacobsen



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