How do the dead live among us today? What kind of relationships can be established between the living and the dead in today’s society? How can we achieve immortality in the present-day digital society? The consortium Digital Death: Transforming History, Rituals and Afterlife (DiDe) is an interdisciplinary research consortium that addresses the cultural and social transformation of human death in contemporary society as it is characterised by digital saturation of the current collective social and cultural existence. Although death is a universal condition of all humankind, the ways in which death is addressed, managed and performed in a given society and culture varies considerably. The European level collaboration on research on death in its digital forms places special emphasis on European histories, cultures, religions, ideologies and technologies that shape the construction of digital death.
DiDe has five specific objectives which are formulated as the following research questions.
- How has digital death, as an idea and a concept, emerged and developed when examined through the past and present of modern European societies and their diverse ethnic, gendered and class-related cultures and histories?
- How are diverse and contemporary death practices carried out in individual and everyday contexts related to online and offline mourning and commemoration in society?
- How does digital death transform social relationships among the living, but also between the living and the departed?
- How does digitalisation of death shape worldviews and related ideas of future post-mortal communication in the context of digital afterlife and immortality?
- What kinds of ethical challenges and dilemmas associated with the value of human life and death emerge due to digitalisation of death in present-day society?