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Sport History in the Digital Era$
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Gary Osmond and Murray G. Phillips

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038938

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038938.001.0001

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Death, Mourning, and Cultural Memory on the Internet

Death, Mourning, and Cultural Memory on the Internet

The Virtual Memorialization of Fallen Sports Heroes

(p.180) 8 Death, Mourning, and Cultural Memory on the Internet
Sport History in the Digital Era

Holly Thorpe

University of Illinois Press

This chapter discusses the cultural production of memory in the digital era through Facebook memorial pages and virtual memorial websites dedicated to deceased sporting heroes. Increasingly, fans, family, friends, and journalists are turning to the Internet to express their condolences, communicate with other mourners, and memorialize the deceased in “highly creative, interactive, and dynamic ways.” Constituting a “record of the multiple, contested, and changing emotional responses,” these websites become “valuable archives of the public affective responses to cultural trauma.” The chapter then focuses on surfer Andy Irons and skier Sarah Burke, who died in 2010 and 2012, respectively, and who have been memorialized extensively online.

Keywords:   Facebook memorial pages, virtual memorial websites, sporting heroes, cultural trauma, Andy Irons, Sarah Burke

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