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  • 1.
    Lagerkvist, Amanda
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies, JMK.
    A Quest for Communitas: Rethinking Mediated Memory Existentially2014In: Nordicom Review, ISSN 1403-1108, E-ISSN 2001-5119, Vol. 35, p. 205-218Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Despite the fragmentation of audience behaviour and the pluralization of platforms within the media cultures of the digital age, cultural memory practices retain an important feature: They echo a basic existential quest for communitas. The present article compares two seemingly incomparable regimes of memory of our time: the anniversaries of 9.11 on Swedish television and web communities of commemoration of lost loved ones. It suggests through these contrasting examples that existential themes are pursued in the face of three challenges: the temporality of instantaneity, the all-pervasive networked individualism that makes memory into a matter of elective affinities, and the technological capacities that subject memory to endless revision. The article explores the existential dimension of these memory practices in line with research within the culturalist emphasis on the study of media and religion. This debate recognizes the need for a broader understanding of the mediated qualities of religion and the religious qualities of the media. The article argues that both televisual anniversaries of trauma that invite audiences to an annual return, and our new multiple and fragmented media memories compel us to conceive of our hyper-contingent, late-modern digital age as a quest for meaning, transcendence and cohesion – for what Victor Turner (1969) called existential communitas. 

  • 2.
    Lagerkvist, Amanda
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies, JMK.
    Communicating the rhythms of retromodernity: ‘confused and mixed Shanghai’2013In: Sociological Review, ISSN 0038-0261, E-ISSN 1467-954X, Vol. 61, p. 144-161Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Visitors on sight-seeing tours in contemporary globalizing Shanghai observe the futuristic ambitions, exponential development and chaotic polyrhythmicity of New Shanghai. The nostalgia industry simultaneously ‘teleports’ the tourists on tours back to a time when Shanghai was a legendary world metropolis; the Golden Age of the inter-war era. Inspired by Henri Lefebvre's critical rhythmanalysis, and by Jonathan Sterne's conceptualization of communication as organized movement and action, this paper explores bus tours by commission of the municipal government. Shanghai is the place where the movements of the buses, as well as the tourists on board, become part of communicating the place identity and multiple rhythms of the city. The buses are conceived as means of communication, in a twofold sense, and as both underscoring and binding together the many incommensurabilities of place: old and new, Western and Chinese, industrialism and post-industrialism, nationalism and globalism. The author argues that mobility, media modernity and a confounding mixture (reflexively manifested on the tour ‘Confused and Mixed Shanghai’) constitute a collective memory of the city, and that the buses in all their seeming banality, communicate Shanghai's particular rhythms of retromodernity.

  • 3.
    Lagerkvist, Amanda
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies, JMK.
    Embodiments of Memory: Toward an Existential Approach to the Culture of Connectivity2017In: Memory Unbound: Tracing the Dynamics of Memory Studies / [ed] Lucy Bond, Stef Craps, Pieter Vermeulen, New York: Berghahn Books, 2017Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 4.
    Lagerkvist, Amanda
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies, JMK.
    Existential Media: Toward a Theorization of Digital Thrownness2017In: New Media and Society, ISSN 1461-4448, E-ISSN 1461-7315, Vol. 19, no 1, p. 96-110Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Our digitally enforced lifeworld is an existential and ambivalent terrain. Questions concerning digital technologies are thus questions about human existence. This theoretical essay employs key concepts from existential philosophy to envision an existential media analysis that accounts for the thrownness of digital human existence. Tracing our digital thrownness to four emergent fields of inquiry, that relate to classic themes (death, time, being there, and being-in-and-with-the-world), it encircles both mundane connectivity and the extraordinary limit-situations (online) when our human vulnerability is principally felt and our security is shaken. In place of a savvy user, this article posits the “exister” as the principal subject in media studies and inhabitant of the digital ecology—a stumbling, hurting, and relational human being, who navigates within limits and among interruptions through the torrents of our digital existence, in search for meaning and existential security.

  • 5.
    Lagerkvist, Amanda
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies, JMK.
    Media and Memory in New Shanghai: Western Performances of Futures Past2013Book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Contributing to current debates about the globality and mediatisation of memories, Media and Memory in New Shanghai interrogates the city's spectacular regeneration into an emergent world centre, describing how Western elites partake in the production of New Shanghai by feeling its futures and performing its futures past.

  • 6.
    Lagerkvist, Amanda
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies.
    New Memory Cultures and Death: Existential Security in the Digital memory Ecology2013In: Thanatos, ISSN 2242-6280, Vol. 2, no 2, p. 1-17Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    It is often claimed that modern media massively return the repressed yet unavoidable fact of death, which modernity had institutionalised and placed out of sight. Death is everywhere in the media age: in news, in fiction, and not least in the budding practices of sociality and memory on the internet. This article will revolve around what we may learn about media and death from the vantage point of how memory cultures are currently being transformed. Spanning a heterogeneous terrain, the ‘digital memory ecology’ comprises among other things the construction of a digital afterlife, commemorative communities of grief and remembrance, interaction in guest books, digital candles and commentary fields on digital memorials. This article argues that today death is far from the hidden supplement to culture as Zygmunt Bauman contends or that it is even making a mediated return to us, but is rather ubiquitous in the digital age. As such it is both de-sequestered and deferred. By launching the deliberately ambiguous concept of existential security , the article outlines a research agenda for how we may approach these tendencies.

  • 7.
    Lagerkvist, Amanda
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies, JMK.
    The Media End: Digital Afterlife Agencies and Techno-existential Closure2017In: Digital Memory Studies: Media Pasts in Transition / [ed] Andrew Hoskins, New York: Routledge, 2017Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 8.
    Lagerkvist, Amanda
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies, JMK.
    The Netlore of the Infinite: Death (and Beyond) in the Digital Memory Ecology2015In: New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia, ISSN 1361-4568, E-ISSN 1740-7842, Vol. 21, no 1-2, p. 185-195Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In an era that celebrates instantaneity and hyper-connectivity, compulsions of networked individualism coexist with technological obsolescence, amounting to a sense of fragmentation and a heightened tension between remembering and forgetting. This article argues, however, that in our era of absolute presence, a netlore of the infinite is emerging, precisely in and through our digital memory practices. This is visible in the ubiquitous meaning-making practices of for instance personal digital archiving through the urges for self-perpetuation; it is evident at sites where the self may be saved for posterity; it is discernible in the techno-spiritual practices of directly speaking to the dead on digital memorials, as well as in the tendency among some users to regard the Internet itself as a manifestation of eternity, “heaven” and the sacred. This article shows that by approaching digital memory cultures existentially, and by attending to the complexities of digital time, we may gain insights into important and paradoxical aspects of our existential terrains of connectivity. This makes possible an exploration into how people navigate and create meaning in the digital memory ecology—in seeking to ground a sense of the eternal in the ephemeral.

  • 9.
    Lagerkvist, Amanda
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies.
    Andersson, Yvonne
    The grand interruption: death online and mediated lifelines of shared vulnerability2017In: Feminist Media Studies, ISSN 1468-0777, E-ISSN 1471-5902, Vol. 17, no 4, p. 550-564Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This essay aims to shed light on two online phenomena dominated by women in the contemporary Swedish context-blogs about terminal illness and support groups for the bereaved-and explore what they mean for those afflicted by suffering and loss. We will show that in the shadow of the grand interruption-the moment when the life narrative itself is cut off because of imminent or sudden death-the studied online activities of mourners and the illness stricken, but also and more profoundly, the internet itself, become literal lifelines, both individual and collective. When they assume a salvific vital role this entails both possibilities and predicaments. Studying various renditions of lifeline communication both enables a re-conceptualization of our culture of connectivity as an existential and ambivalent terrain and requires an upgrading of the existential to our contemporary technological culture. In forging existential philosophy and the new materialism into a productive, if not tensionless, conversation we stress, firstly, that in emphasizing life and downplaying subjective death some strands of affect theory may neglect the universal absolutes of death and suffering, as sources of fecundity. Ontologically, technologies are lifelines precisely because of severe illness and loss. And secondly, we show that through their practices these women partake in what Karl Jaspers calls a truly existential elucidation in both words and deeds, but also importantly through affective encounters online. Their practices display the significance of shared vulnerability in and through the digital. Lifeline communication offers, beyond narrative, the simple promise of being there for one another online, in mutual ethical veneration of both silence and alterity. Hence, attending to grand interruptions allows for appreciating important and heretofore neglected existential implications of mediation, from the horizon of those who in the wake of loss or ill health stand before the abyss, and who live and die with the technology.

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