Memorization of Places of Death in Road Accidents in the Focus of Public Opinion

Memorization of Places of Death in Road Accidents in the Focus of Public Opinion

Matlin M.G.

Dr. Sci. (Philol.), Prof. of the Department of Russian Language, Literature and Journalism Ulyanovsk State Pedagogical University named after I. N. Ulyanov, Ulyanovsk, Russia

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Matlin M.G. Memorization of Places of Death in Road Accidents in the Focus of Public Opinion. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2022. No 3. P. 98-106


The article analyzes the public opinion on the modern tradition of setting up roadside memorials on car accident sites. For this purpose, the contents of various Internet forum websites posted in 2013–2019 and devoted to this topic have been analyzed. There were 812 discussion participants of different gender and age, including professional drivers, car enthusiasts and people without cars. 536 people expressed their attitude to this tradition. Of these, 210 people (39.2%) expressed their positive opinion about roadside monuments; 243 people (45.3%) expressed negative opinion; 62 people (11.6%) had mixed feelings on this matter; 166 people shared some information on this topic without expressing their own attitude to it; 13 people (2.4%) were indifferent; 8 people (1.5%) didn’t understand the meaning of this tradition, 234 spoke on other issues. The reasons for which the participants approved or disapproved the tradition have also been defined. The main arguments against roadside memorials were the following: commemoration and memorialization of the deceased should be committed within the framework of state and confessional laws; the only place where a memorial sign should be installed is a cemetery, no matter where the person died; grief for the dead is a personal business of the deceased person’s family, and it shouldn’t be displayed publicly; the people who die in car accidents can be responsible for the tragedies and for the death of others, so they don’t deserve public attention and commemoration. Those who approved roadside memorials mentioned two major arguments: the relatives’ grief has the right to be expressed in unregulated forms; roadside memorials remind all the drivers that they should drive safely, without breaking traffic rules. The people with mixed feelings considered that temporary roadside memorials (flowers, wreaths) are acceptable, but monuments like the ones that are installed at cemeteries should be removed from roadsides. The participants of the discussions highlighted some other problems as well: the actions of the State Duma and the government; the Church’s role in social life; the quality of roads and highways; drivers’ deliberate disregard of traffic regulations, etc.

public opinion; tradition; roadside monuments; traffic accident; content analysis


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Content No 3, 2022