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Title: You only live twice : a constructivist grounded theory study of the creation and inheritance of digital afterlives
Author: Bassett, Debra J.
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2019
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We live in a digital era, where ubiquitous social media is a part of the everyday lives of many. Social media platforms were designed for the living; however, they are being used to nurture ongoing relationships with the dead, and are increasingly being used to discuss death, dying and grieving. In this digitized world, technology exists that enables us to create avatars that will allow us to “live forever” and advise future generations. This convergence of death related issues and technology has become a growing and important area of research across many disciplines. Using qualitative methods, this thesis advances existing research by focusing on the creation and inheritance of digital messages, social network profiles, thanablogs, posthumous chatbots, posthumous messages, and posthumous avatars. I interviewed 48 participants in-depth, utilising a qualitative approach based on constructivist grounded theory to explore the data. In this thesis, using the voices of the participants, I will demonstrate how digital afterlives, enabled by thanatechnology, are far more than data as they are experienced by the bereaved as possessing the essence of the dead. Moreover, ubiquitous smart technology ensures the dead permeate into the everyday lives of the living, which this study will show, challenges existing models of bereavement. The original contribution to knowledge presented in this thesis and generated from the research data is my substantive grounded theory of The Fear of Second Loss. This emergent theory describes the fear of losing precious data which contains the essence of the dead; the Fear of Second Loss is a nascent phenomenon rising from the inheritance of digital afterlives. Digital afterlives are not permanent: obsolete technology and platform failure can lead to digital erasure, and in our digital society it may be worth remembering – you only live twice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology ; HM Sociology