Afterlife-ontology and the making of continuing bonds
This presentation explores the co-construction of after life-ontology by mediums and people turning to mediums, particularly ontology which facilitate for the making of continuing bonds. By extension, the questions addressed taps into larger discussions about re-enchantment, spirituality and relationships with the dead, but they are at the same time related to intimacy, meaning and intelligibility. The analysis is based on in-depth interviews as well as conversations found on sites where after life-issues are discussed. Themes examined include experiences of the deceased as still present, imagery of the afterlife in terms of space, temporality, agents and agency, and perceptions of the possibilities to interact. The overall purpose of the presentation is to show how different ontological notions and on-going negotiations about how, where and why the deceased continue to exist result in variations when it comes to the enactment of continuing bonds. Continuing bonds are usually investigated as features of everyday life, most notably in the form of experiences of the dead as somehow present, but also as constituted by various memorialization practices. These bonds may be a way of preserving life as they know it for the living, but they can also fill other existential needs. Although continuing bonds have been explored in the context of mediumship and spiritualism before, the interest here taken in ontological elements such as agency, space and interaction enable for a more thorough investigation of what sort of continuing bonds can be developed. The interest in co-construction, i.e. how notions and imageries are shaped (and challenged) collectively, also adds to the analytical scope.
(PhD) Annika Jonsson, Dep. of Social and Psychological Studies, Karlstad University. firstname.lastname@example.org
(Prof.) Lars Aronsson, Dep. of human geography, media and communication, Karlstad University. email@example.com
Images of Afterlife. Interdiciplinary conference 22-24 october 2014. University of Turku (Åbo) Finland