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Roadside Memorial Powerpointv4 Roadside Memorial Powerpointv4 Presentation Transcript

  • Roadside Memorials in the Community A Scientific Study of Roadside Memorials Art Jipson, PhD. University of Dayton, CJS Program
  • Interest
    • Driving to work I noticed roadside memorials along my commute from Oxford to Dayton
    • I became interested in
    • the symbolic, emotional, social, and criminological components to these memorials
  • Figuring out Roadside Memorials
    • The project has focused on ascertaining the reasons that led some people to erect a commemoration to a loved one or a friend who died as a result of an automobile accident.
    • The research has taken multiple tracks:
    • (1) Interviewing erectors of memorials,
    • (2) individuals who are connected to the memorials,
    • (3) content analysis of written material on roadside and other memorials,
    • (4) and collection and analysis of data on the laws in the fifty states.
  • Interview Data I have interviewed 309 individuals involved in 127 Memorials (not all are listed below due to confidentiality requirements)
    • Midwest:
    • Ohio (78)
    • Kentucky (45)
    • West Virginia (15)
    • Pennsylvania (14)
    • Illinois (13)
    • Indiana (16)
    • Minnesota (3)
    • Iowa (2)
    • South:
    • North Carolina (24)
    • South Carolina (15)
    • Georgia (21)
    • Tennessee (16)
    • Arkansas (2)
    • East:
    • Massachusetts (8)
    • Delaware (5)
    • Massachusetts (7)
  • Demographics of Erectors
    • Race 70% white, 20% African-American, 10% Hispanic or Mexican-American
    • Kinship 95% family members, 5% friends or others
    • Gender 80% erected by women
    • Class 70% of erectors earn less than $120,000 annually
  • Content Analysis
    • I have also conducted content analysis on 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.
  • Little written on Roadside Memorials
    • Little scholarly work has focused on roadside memorials.
    • Instead research has focused on well-known large projects such as sanctioned historical markers or approved grieving spaces (such as national cemeteries)
  • Why erect a Roadside Memorial?
    • Grief
    • Private Marker
    • Public Service
      • Public Marker
      • Warning about danger
      • Slow Down
  • Other Markers
    • In all of my interviews, the roadside memorial is an addition to a conventional gravestone.
    • It does not replace a gravestone in a cemetery
  • The Memorial is Powerful
    • For every single person involved in erecting a memorial that I have interviewed, all of them stated that the roadside memorial was more meaningful to them than a gravestone in a cemetery.
  • Massachusetts Memorial
  • Owensboro, KY Memorial
  • SR 127 Ohio
  • SR 127 Ohio
  • Massachusetts Memorial 2
  • Massachusetts Memorial 3
  • MA Memorial 3, note the car part
  • MA Memorial 3, note the objects
  • MA Memorial 3, long shot
  • Massachusetts Memorial 6
  • A memorial near the Dayton Mall It is important to note that as is demonstrated in the pictures that follow that some memorials can be quite elaborate in a variety of ways.
  • A Roadside Memorial from Hamilton, Ohio
  • A memorial near downtown Hamilton, Ohio Even small memorials demonstrate attention to detail and obvious care.
  • A Memorial on Ohio SR 127/73
  • Common Themes
    • Organization (mostly crosses)
    • Names
    • Dates
    • Flowers (plastic and real)
    • Personal notes, mementos,
    • pictures
    • Personal items of the deceased
  • Roadside Memorials and the Law
    • Finally, in order to understand the influence of roadside memorials, I have begun to survey all 50 state Attorneys General and transportation departments on each state’s laws that pertain to roadside memorials.
  • Different States have different Laws
    • State and local governments have responded differently to roadside memorials.
    • West Virginia, for example has explicit legislation meant to regulate the size and placement of these memorials in its borders.
    • Other states, such as Ohio, view roadside memorials as a hindrance to travel and therefore consider them illegal.
  • Variability of State Laws
    • Not all states have legislation that directly applies to roadside memorials.
    • More frequently, state law avoids direct comment on roadside memorials and only intervenes if the memorial becomes an obstruction to traffic.
      • Recent legislation: Indiana, Alaska
  • Removal
    • As I began interviewing individuals and family members who erected roadside memorials it became increasingly apparent that county and local law enforcement are often unwilling to remove a memorial –
  • Law Enforcement and Removal
    • 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.
  • Thanks for Listening…
    • Any questions?
    • Please feel free to write to me about Roadside Memorials @
    • Art Jipson
    • Criminal Justice Studies program
    • University of Dayton
    • 300 College Park
    • Dayton, Ohio 45469
    • on Twitter @ artjipson
    • Or call 937-229-2153
    • or email me @ ( [email_address] )