School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Research Publications

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    The disposition of the destitute
    Arnold, M ; Nansen, B ; Kohn, T ; Gibbs, M ; Harewood Gould, H (Council to Homeless Persons, 2019)
    The final disposition is a term used by people in the funeral industry to refer to the burial or cremation of a dead person. The final disposition is a profoundly important event, not simply a pragmatic or material process, and its significance is expressed through ritualised performances. The disposition and its rituals are shared and communal, involving ceremonies attended by the deceased’s family, friends, and community, whilst less indirectly the disposition is shared by wider social norms and values around the proper treatment of the deceased body. Although the disposition is common to us all, then, it is also a personalised event in which the particularity of the life lived is recognised. Similarly, the place of interment, whether body or ashes, is named and marked to recognise the individual life of the deceased. Places of interment are thus not only identified, but are also accessible to family, friends and community, for the purpose of ongoing visitation and remembrance.
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    ‘Death by Twitter’: Understanding false death announcements on social media and the performance of platform cultural capital
    Nansen, B ; O'Donnell, D ; Arnold, M ; Kohn, T ; Gibbs, M (University of Illinois Libraries, 2019)
    In this paper, we analyse false death announcements of public figures on social media and public responses to them. The analysis draws from a range of public sources to collect and categorise the volume of false death announcements on Twitter and undertakes a case study analysis of representative examples. We classify false death announcements according to five overarching types: accidental; misreported; misunderstood; hacked; and hoaxed. We identify patterns of user responses, which cycle through the sharing of the news, to personal grief, to a sense of uncertainty or disbelief. But we also identify more critical and cultural responses to such death announcements in relation to misinformation and the quality of digital news, or cultures of hoax and disinformation on social media. Here we see the performance of online identity through a form that we describe, following Bourdieu as ‘platform cultural capital’.
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    Apathetic villagers and the trolls who love them: Player amorality in online multiplayer games
    Sparrow, L ; Gibbs, M ; Arnold, M (ACM, 2019-12-02)
    Players are sometimes understood to hold an 'amoral' stance in games, morally disengaging from game content and in-game player behaviours because 'it's just a game'. This amorality is often seen as problematic and in need of refuting or amendment, particularly if we wish to encourage more ethical play online. However, few studies have approached a theory of player amorality from the player's perspective in multiplayer games. This study aims to address this gap by conducting 20 in-depth interviews with a wide range of multiplayer game-players, exploring players' ethical views towards problematic or disruptive in-game behaviours. Preliminary results show that while players do exhibit a certain amorality regarding in-game actions, players express, justify and explain this amorality in a variety of considered ways that go beyond notions of 'it's just a game' and the 'sociopathic griefer', and step outside the framework of moral disengagement. This paper puts forward a preliminary framework of player amorality termed 'Apathetic Villager Theory', encapsulated by six key attitudes/themes that highlight the nuances involved in the (un)ethical standpoints of a range of players. It is hoped that this framework will be useful in approaching and responding to player amorality in a way that gives due recognition of the various voices and understandings involved in multiplayer digital gameplay.