Forskning ved Københavns Universitet - Københavns Universitet


Being parent to an angel – mediating parenthood online and offline

Publikation: KonferencebidragPaperForskningfagfællebedømt

  • Kjetil Sandvik
  • Dorthe Refslund Christensen
This paper demonstrates how everyday practices among those who suffer the loss of a child include the use of both analogue and digital means and media to create meaningful relations to the dead child, the bereaved as well as to the surrounding world. A dead child – be it a stillborn or dead at a very early age – renders the parents in a highly vulnerable situation. The loss of a child leaves the parents in an existential void: their identity as parents-to-be and all preparations for this as well as all hopes and dreams for the future are rendered meaningless by the child’s death. In this situation, the process of grief becomes a way of reinstalling meaning by establishing an ongoing relationship to the dead child by which the child – who in life was barely there – gains existence and through which the identity as parents (however to a dead child) is established, communicated and socially acknowledged. Based on observation studies and qualitative content analyses of both children’s graves and online memory profiles (Christensen & Sandvik 2013, 2014) combined with interviews with bereaved parents, we present some reflections on how these practices of commemoration, meaning-making and establishing, maintaining and developing relations are articulated through everyday media use. The paper focuses on the cross media connection between offline and online activities and demonstrates how the loss of a child initiates processes which are not about letting go and moving on but rather keeping hold while moving on (Walter, 1999) articulated through communicational practices resembling everyday parental activities such as playing with the child, reading bedtime stories etc., the purpose of which are to keep the dead child as a part of the parents’ and family’s continuing life.
StatusUdgivet - 2015
BegivenhedECREA regional: Interpersonal Communication and Social Interaction - Aarhus Universitet
Varighed: 10 nov. 201512 nov. 2015


KonferenceECREA regional: Interpersonal Communication and Social Interaction
LokationAarhus Universitet

Bibliografisk note

Paper på ECREA regional conference on Interpersonal Communication and Social Interaction, Aarhus University 10.-12. November

ID: 150983633