From Native American burial grounds to present day corpse refrigeration, laying loved ones to rest has been a steadfast part of American culture. Nearly every American community has a cemetery filled with unique historical relics and memorials revealing insight into the lives of people of the past. Many people feel a sense of responsibility to keep the memory of their ancestors alive through celebrating their lives with respect and consideration (Thursby 2006). One way in which individuals memorialize their deceased loved ones is through continuing the ritual of gift-giving long after their loved ones have passed away. With online retail companies like Memorials.com, PersonalCreations.com, and BereavementStore.com, that offer personalized cemetery gifts, it appears that consumer spending on their deceased loved ones does not necessarily end with the funeral. Gift-giving to the deceased occurs at both small scale places (e.g., a loved one’s grave) and large scale places (e.g., public memorials). Post-death consumption practices allow the living an alternative and healthy way to deal with grief by continuing to live with their loved ones (Walter 1999) instead of letting go completely (O’Donohoe and Turley 2005). Since the exchange of gifts are a means of social communication among individuals (Mick and DeMoss 1990) and can be used to construct and reinforce social identities of both the giver and receiver (Grainger 1998), this practice allows the relationship to continue and offers the ability to create meaning after a death (O’Donohoe and Turley 2005). In contributing to the consumer culture literature, this study investigates the gift-giving system in the context of items left at cemeteries by gravesite visitors (i.e., friends of the deceased, surviving family members). The purpose of this study is threefold: 1) to develop a taxonomy of tangible gifts offered to the deceased, 2) to understand the symbolic meanings behind these items, and 3) to examine the scope of underlying motives in gift-giving to the deceased.
Weitere Kapitel dieses Buchs durch Wischen aufrufen
Bitte loggen Sie sich ein, um Zugang zu diesem Inhalt zu erhalten
Sie möchten Zugang zu diesem Inhalt erhalten? Dann informieren Sie sich jetzt über unsere Produkte:
- Gone but Not Forgotten: Symbolic Meaning and Motives in Gift-Giving to the Deceased