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Title: Highway to Heaven: the cosmology of the Roadside Memorial
Contributor(s): Franzmann, Majella Maria (author)
Publication Date: 2007
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Abstract: In the hinterland of the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, there is a roadside memorial with a cross, the vertical stake of which has a doorknob fixed to the top. Below it are the words: 'the door to heaven is now open Scotty RIP'. This memorial makes explicit what many roadside memorials seem to imply - that the death of a loved one has opened a passage, both for the dead to another reality, and for the living to communicate with the dead. Such an idea rests on an underlying cosmology that can be found in many of the world's religions. In the Australian context, the idea is most likely borrowed from the dominant Judeo-Christian Western religious or cultural information that informs the life of those who erect the memorials. At the same time, this borrowing may be entirely unconscious and the source unrecognised. The memorials are the means by which people engage with loss, with grief, with processes of remembering and mourning. These activities are not of themselves necessarily religious, but the language, symbolism and paraphernalia of the memorials are overwhelmingly so.
Publication Type: Conference Publication
Conference Name: First International Symposium on Roadside Memorials, University of New England, June 25, 2004
Source of Publication: Roadside Memorials: A Multidisciplinary Approach, p. 173-180
Publisher: EMU Press
Place of Publication: Armidale
Field of Research (FOR): 220405 Religion and Society
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: E1 Refereed Scholarly Conference Publication
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