When Death Goes Pop

Death, Media and the Remaking of Community

by Charlton D. McIlwain (Author)
©2012 Textbook XIV, 262 Pages


Scholars, educators, health professionals, and activists from a variety of fields have struggled with one of the most significant questions of contemporary life: How do we rescue the experience of death and dying from the mire of fear, denial, and secrecy that it has been associated with for the better part of a century? In When Death Goes Pop, Charlton D. McIlwain describes a striking emerging shift in the way that death is represented in such omnipresent forms of media as television – a shift that seems to be moving the American discourse on death and dying from the private sphere to the public. The book surveys the past thirty years of death-related television programming, from daytime soaps to prime-time dramas, focusing primarily on Home Box Office’s Six Feet Under and its innovative approach to the subject, and from the Sci-Fi Channel’s Crossing Over to the genre of paranormal programming as a whole. This book also discusses the increasing use of multimedia and the Internet in the funeral industry and how the new technologies change the way that we remember the dead as they create and sustain what we might call a «virtual community of death».


XIV, 262
ISBN (Softcover)
Massenmedien Tod Death television
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2012. XIV, 262 pp., 7 fig.

Biographical notes

Charlton D. McIlwain (Author)

The Author: Charlton McIlwain is Assistant Professor in the Department of Culture and Communication at New York University. He received his Ph.D. in communication from the University of Oklahoma. He is the author of Death in Black and White: Death, Ritual and Family Ecology (2003).


Title: When Death Goes Pop