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Title: Memorialising the Dead Child: Confronting Lost Childhoods
Contributor(s): Simpson, Brian H  (author)
Publication Date: 2015
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Abstract: The death of a child is considered to be one of the most tragic events that can happen within a family. For that reason memorials to dead children can be both confronting and shocking. At one level they may serve to remind families and communities of their loss, but at another level they confront us with the reminder that death can strike at children 'before their time.' This tension is also evident in memorials for dead children. On the one hand many memorials to dead children are intensely private and personal, both spatially and temporally. On the other hand memorials to the dead child can be highly public and on-going, such as in the case of laws passed in the name of a dead child to prevent future similar deaths, foundations for medical research, or events named in their honour. Remembering a lost child, as with collective memory generally, is usually about constructing the present and not the past. In the case of a child there is less in the past to remember compared with an adult, thus memorialising dead children is often about some concept of 'lost childhood' or what 'might have been'. In this sense creating a memorial to a dead child is often caught between freezing the memory of the child in their childhood ('the forever child') or is an exercise in imagining their childhood and beyond ('the grown up child'). In other words memorialising dead children may provide an opportunity to observe how adults construct childhood, including how they imagine the grown up child, or alternatively create the forever child. What this chapter seeks to do is to understand this process of memorialising dead children and its implications this has for the living child in such contexts as the law, urban spaces and health.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: And Death Shall Have Dominion: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Dying, Caregivers, Death, Mourning and the Bereaved, p. 157-166
Publisher: Inter-Disciplinary Press
Place of Publication: Oxford, United Kingdom
ISBN: 9781848884182
Field of Research (FOR): 160403 Social and Cultural Geography
169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified
189999 Law and Legal Studies not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO): 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified
940499 Justice and the Law not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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Series Name: Probing the Boundaries
Statistics to Oct 2018: Visitors: 107
Views: 135
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Editor: Editor(s): Katarzyna Malecka and Rossanna Gibbs
Appears in Collections:Book Chapter

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