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Passing on and putting to rest: Understanding bereavement in the context of interactive technologies

Will Odom, Richard Harper, Abigail Sellen, Dave Kirk, and Richard Banks

Abstract

While it can be a delicate and emotionally-laden topic, new technological trends compel us to confront a range of problems and issues about death and bereavement. This area presents complex challenges and the associated literature is extensive. In this paper we offer a way of slicing through several perspectives in the social sciences to see clearly a set of salient issues related to bereavement. Following this, we present a theoretical lens to provide a way of conceptualizing how the HCI community could begin to approach such issues. We then report field evidence from 11 in-depth interviews conducted with bereaved participants and apply the proposed lens to unpack key emergent problems and tensions. We conclude with a discussion on how the HCI design space might be sensitized to better support the social processes that unfold when bereavement occurs.

Details

Publication typeProceedings
Published inProceedings of CHI 2010
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc.
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