Amanda Lagerkvist

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Department of Media Studies, Stockholm University
Bio Statement: 
Amanda Lagerkvist was recently appointed as Wallenberg Academy Fellow in the Department of Media Studies, Stockholm UNiversity. The fellowship-program is financed by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and will run for five years (2014-2018). As Fellow Lagerkvist leads the project “Existential Terrains: Memory and Meaning in Cultures of Connectivity”, and a transdisciplinary network and seminar series on digital media and existential issues (DIGMEX). Focusing on digital memory cultures, Lagerkvist’s project explores the existential dimensions of digitalisation. The project combines analyses of the formal, textual and visual characteristics of digital memory forms in studies of digital memorials, portable archives and services where the self may be saved for posterity, with qualitative in-depth interviews with media users of different ages in contemporary Sweden. The objective is to gain detailed knowledge about how fundamental existential issues are pursued, when people’s lives and memories are increasingly shaped in, by and through the digital media forms. In addition to the more well-researched traits of digital media, this project contends that users explicitly or implicitly employ them as existential terrains: as private and/or public spaces for individual and collective commemoration and grief, and for creating and archiving the self. Combining perspectives from existentialist philosophy, with the study of media and religion and with theoretical debates on digital memory cultures, the project sets out to explore how ‘existential security’ (Lagerkvist 2013) is sought, achieved or lost in our era of hyper connectivity, temporal instantaneity and an accelerated evaporation between the public and the private. Recent book: Lagerkvist, Amanda (2013) Media and Memory in New Shanghai: Western Performances of Futures Past, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Recent articles and papers: Lagerkvist, Amanda (2013) ”New Memory Cultures and Death: Existential Security in The Digital Memory Ecology ”, Thanatos, Vol 2(2), December 2013. (forthcoming) ”A Quest for Communitas: Rethinking Mediated Collective Memory Existentially”, Nordicom Review. (in progress) The Netlore of the Infinite: Meaning Making and the Deferral of Death in the Digital Memory Ecology, paper to be presented at the first Death Online Research-conference, University of Durham, April, 2014.
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