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Vernacular mourning and corporate memorialization in framing the death of Steve Jobs

Bell, Emma and Taylor, Scott (2016). Vernacular mourning and corporate memorialization in framing the death of Steve Jobs. Organization, 23(1) pp. 114–132.

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This article explores the role of vernacular mourning in framing the death of Apple co-founder and former chief executive Steve Jobs. Using the concept of heterotopia to explore the spatiotemporal power relations of contemporary organizational memorialization, we show how the construction of temporary shrines and visual imagery rendered spaces and objects temporarily sacred and maintained Jobs as an ongoing presence in the lives of consumer-believers. Our analysis of these mourning practices identifies three themes: the construction of shrines as temporary organizational memorials in vernacular mourning; the distribution of photographs as memento mori; and the role of official corporate memorialization in disciplining mourners into letting go, severing their connection with Jobs so that the organization could continue without his physical presence. This highlights the importance of organizations in attempting to control mourning through official corporate memorialization and reveals the power relations entailed in determining who and what is mourned in organizational life, and how the dead are remembered.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2015 The Authors
ISSN: 1461-7323
Keywords: Apple; death; heterotopia; memorialization; mourning; Steve Jobs; visual images
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Business > Department for People and Organisations
Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Business
Faculty of Business and Law (FBL)
Item ID: 48600
Depositing User: Emma Bell
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2017 10:43
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2019 05:11
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