Sharing pain and grief online

The project Sharing pain and grief online: the self-referential digital image of illness and death as a means of destigmatization, connection, visibilizarion and copresence (DOLORDUELONLINE) is an interdisciplinary exploration of the depiction of pain and grief in the domain of the digital image and humanities. The specific object of study are the self-referential images of illness and death shared on the Internet. We will analyze the new practices, narratives and formats emerging in their regard on the Internet and in social networks, along with their cultural significance.

Practices of this kind are a growing phenomenon of considerable social interest, in view of changing perceptions of the limits between the private and public space, the rising number of chronic disease sufferers who demand greater awareness and visibilization not just of their pain but also their needs, and the shift in attitudes to death that is increasingly evident online.

With this aim in mind, we will examine the change of image-paradigm in this context, with special attention to the active role the image is apparently acquiring as a mediator in copresential processes linked to issues of stigmatization, the creation of new communities and the visualization of pain and grief.

We will use mixed methods ranging from statistics to visual/semiotic analysis, in a team formed by researchers from areas including the visual arts, communication, visual anthropology, digital ethnography and art history.

The project aims to obtain quantitative and qualitative results that elucidate a contemporary phenomenon of growing importance and broad social impact, and contribute to the study, normalization and visibilization of practices linked to the representation of illness, death and grieving in the digital space.

Encountering Pain Conference poster presentation (UCL, London, 2016)

Encountering Pain Conference poster presentation (UCL, London, 2016)