Identity management of the dead: Contests in the construction of murdered children

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Abstract

Presenting data gathered from fieldwork and ethnographic interviews with families of homicide victims, this study explores "postmortem identity-contests" faced by families who have experienced the homicide of a child or other family member. Interview data from families on their interaction with police, funeral home directors, and other institutional officials suggest that the construction of postmortem identities is commonly a process of contestation filled with competing identity-claims. The findings reveal that as families resist "oppressive othering" by the state and other institutional actors, they develop various accounts and strategies in "selfing" and sanctifying the identity of the dead.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-40
Number of pages23
JournalSymbolic Interaction
Volume33
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

Keywords

  • Accounts
  • Homicide
  • Identity work
  • Oppressive othering
  • Virtual reselfing

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