Death Sentiments and Death Themes

  • Jack Fong


This chapter “reads” the Wordle canvases that have been generated for each Death Café participant and event. The most important aspect of my research appears in this chapter as I employ Jonathan Feinberg’s Wordle text analysis program and tag cloud generator to present key themes emphasized during dialog, as well as situate these themes within the framework of participants’ utterances. Wordle takes inputted text and subsequently outputs word compilations where a larger word size indicates greater use of that particular word in the text (Viegas et al., Visualization and Computer Graphics, IEEE Transactions, 15(6): 1–8, 2009). Thus, tag clouds display text data about text data: they are outputs of all words presented on a spatial canvas, with larger sized words assumed to be more suggestive than their smaller sized counterparts. From the tag clouds, cautious extrapolations of Wordle outputs will be made so as to make visible key themes and concerns of each participant and of each Death Café. Following our Wordle analyses, I discuss how Habermas’ communicative action manifested during dialog. In the process, I note how narratives shared by attendees are becoming foundational themes for a bona fide death identity, one that generates coping mechanisms for death very much ahead of schedule, one that allows for a degree of the personal in terms of attending to the logistics of the corporeal as well as the metaphysics of the beyond. From the thematic data, the chapter notes how a death identity has been assembled to reinforce a critical appreciation of life and living.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jack Fong
    • 1
  1. 1.Associate Professor of SociologyDepartment of Psychology & Sociology California State Polytechnic UniversityPomona CAUSA

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