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The Gothic and Death$
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Carol Margaret Davison

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781784992699

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784992699.001.0001

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‘I’m not in that thing you know … I’m remote. I’m in the cloud’: networked spectrality in Charlie Brooker’s ‘Be Right Back’

‘I’m not in that thing you know … I’m remote. I’m in the cloud’: networked spectrality in Charlie Brooker’s ‘Be Right Back’

Chapter:
(p.218) 15 ‘I’m not in that thing you know … I’m remote. I’m in the cloud’: networked spectrality in Charlie Brooker’s ‘Be Right Back’
Source:
The Gothic and Death
Author(s):

Neal Kirk

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781784992699.003.0016

‘Be Right Back’ (Black Mirror 2011-ongoing) fictionalises the possibility of reconstructing a deceased loved one based on posts to online social media sites as a means of managing grief. This chapter reads the episode according to a new theoretical framework, ‘networked spectrality’, which considers the relevant historical, technical, social, and political dynamics of digital networks as they relate to the concept of haunting. By paying attention to the affordances of networked publics, including the problems of context collapse in mediated social interactions, networked spectrality helps explore the significance of Ash as an enduring multiplicity of haunting and the uncanny in the lives of Martha and their daughter. As an allegory of contemporary media use, networked spectrality offers an approach to consider the implications of mediated remains and technical persistence in a society that tends to identify and articulate such encounters as spectral.

Keywords:   Networked spectrality, Black Mirror, Grief, Haunting, Affordances of networked publics, Context collapse, Symbolic interactionism, Mediated remains, Technical persistence

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