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Angels and the Digital Afterlife: Death and Nonreligion Online

Hutchings, Tim


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Assistant Professorin Religious Ethics


This brief article aims to draw the attention of nonreligion researchers to a growing interdisciplinary research field: the study of death online. In digitally networked societies, the dead are remembered online, and their survivors can use digital resources to express grief, find support and construct memorials. New norms and languages of mourning are emerging, including new references to heaven, angels and communication with the dead. The boundary between religion and nonreligion is blurred in these new practices, but we know very little as yet about what this blurring actually means to the bereaved. This article will outline the main approaches to religion in studies of death online, draw on nonreligion research to critique these approaches, and call for new directions and methods in future studies of nonreligion and media. It will argue that scholars of religion and nonreligion have much to offer to the study of death online, and this article acts as an introduction and an invitation to future interdisciplinary exploration.


Hutchings, T. (2019). Angels and the Digital Afterlife: Death and Nonreligion Online. Secularism and Nonreligion, 8, 1-6.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 31, 2019
Online Publication Date Aug 19, 2019
Publication Date Aug 19, 2019
Deposit Date Aug 20, 2019
Publicly Available Date Aug 21, 2019
Journal Secularism and Nonreligion
Electronic ISSN 2053-6712
Publisher Ubiquity Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Article Number 7
Pages 1-6
Keywords death; grief; death online; afterlife; digital religion
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