I have also conducted content analysis on over 137 newspaper and print articles, television and radio programs, and letters to the editors written on roadside memorials.
This analysis has helped contextualize roadside memorials in the local and national consciousness.
In addition, I have also reviewed the scholarly literature in literature, criminology, popular culture, cultural geography, and sociology on roadside memorials and other forms of spontaneous public commemoration.
As I began interviewing individuals and family members who put up roadside memorials it became increasingly apparent that county and local law enforcement are often unwilling to remove a memorial out of respect to the grieving parties.
There is an unstated agreement that there is a right to place a memorial…
Removal happens infrequently even if there is some vocal opposition in the community and even in some circumstance where some in a community consider it a distraction (and a distracting commemoration would be illegal in all states)
Law enforcement does not want to appear to be insensitive to the feelings of the bereaved.
What do we learn by studying Roadside Memorials?
Social cohesion: social bonds, relationships, societal functioning are shaped by the placement of memorials.
Social Deviance: may be relative.
Community cohesion is established through solidarity and that solidarity can be represented in many different ways.