Paula Kiel

Paula Kiel

PhD Researcher

Department of Media and Communications

Key Expertise
Sociology, Multimodal analysis, Social shaping of technology

About me

Research topic

Title:  Digital afterlives and the transcendence industry: contemporary social constructions of death in Western societies 

Supervisors: Professor Shani Orgad and Dr Dlyan Mulvin

Paula's research project explores the role of digital media in the contemporary social construction of death, focusing on recently emerging platforms of digital legacy that offer to facilitate post-mortem digital interactions and online presence, enabling deceased individuals to continue to be actively present in online communicational events. Such practices are potentially challenging the modes, times and places of presence of death and the dead in everyday life in contemporary western societies. In her project Paula seeks to characterise these practices and understand their meaning by investigating three sites: the specific platforms as multimodal cultural artefacts, practices of technological design and practices of technology use.


Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) 2016 Best Student Paper Award, for The emerging practices of the collective afterlife: multimodal analysis of websites for post-mortem digital interaction.

Expertise Details

sociology of death; multimodal analysis; practice theory; social shaping of technology; digital and online communication

Conference papers

  • Kiel, P. (2017). “Networked Publics and the Social Construction of Death, Dying and Bereavement in a Digital Age”. AoIR 2017: The 18th Annual Meeting of the Association of Internet Researchers. Tartu, Estonia.
  • Kiel, P. (2017). “Online Practices of Un-Controlled Presence and the collective afterlife”. 3rd International Death Online Research Symposium. Aarhus University, Denmark.
  • Kiel, P. (2016). “Online After Death: Practices of (un)Controlled Presence”. Annual symposium of the BSA Social Aspects of Death, Dying and Bereavement Study Group on: Death, Dying. Bereavement and Technologies in the 21st Century. Sheffield, UK.
  • Kiel, P. (2016) “The Emerging Practices of the Collective Afterlife: Multimodal Analysis of Websites for Post-Mortem Digital Interaction”. AoIR 2016: The 17th Annual Meeting of the Association of Internet Researchers. Berlin, Germany.
  • Kiel, P. (2015) “Dead Online: Practices of Post-Mortem Digital Interaction”. Internet Research 16: The 16th Annual Meeting of the Association of Internet Researchers. Phoenix, AZ, USA.
  • Kiel, P. (2015). “Un-Controlled Presence: Practices of post-mortem digital interaction.” 2nd International Death Online Research Symposium. Kingston University, London.
  • Kiel, P. (2014). “Exploring the Digital Afterlife”. LSE Media and Communications PhD Symposium. LSE.
  • Kiel, P. (2011). “The Spread of the Bra-Burning Myth as a Case Study of Diffusion of Anti-Feminism”. ‘Metaksherim’ conference for communication graduate students, University of Haifa.


  • 2015-2016: Graduate Teaching Assistant (LSE): Seminar leader in MC Labs dissertation workshops delivered to MSc students in the media and communications department at LSE.
  • 2010-2013: Introduction to Mass Communication (BA level):  Teaching assistant to Dr. Limor Shifman. Post included leading seminars, preparing assignments, maintaining course website and grading papers.
  • 2011-2013: Theories in Communication and Culture (MSc level): Teaching assistant to Prof. Paul Frosh. Post included leading seminars, preparing assignments, maintaining course website and grading papers.
  • 2011-2012: Qualitative research methods (BA level): Teaching assistant to Dr. Zohar Kampf. Post included leading seminars, preparing assignments, maintaining course website, supervising students in their first independent research project and grading papers.