Title

The Bright and Dark Side of Joseph Fenton: An Analysis of Narratives Describing the Man Known as Sudharman

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-6-2016

Publication Source

Death Studies

Inclusive pages

1-9

DOI

doi=10.1080/07481187.2016.1173126

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

ISBN/ISSN

0748-1187 (Print) 1091-7683 (Online)

Peer Reviewed

yes

Abstract

The death of Joe “Sudharman” Fenton sparked competing narratives leaving some members of the family wondering who Joe Fenton was, the man who died as Sudharman. During the night of July 4, 2010, Sudharman was murdered as he slept in his yoga studio in Union County, Pennsylvania. This piece examines his death in order to examine how communication was used to describe Joe Fenton. We used autoethnographic and ethnographic methods to collect the media coverage of his death, the funeral remembrances, and the blog posts, as well as completed two in-depth interviews with family members in order to find out who Joe Fenton was. We analyzed how others described Fenton through the frames of dark and bright communication behaviors. Our analysis determined that Fenton was seen in a spiritual/religious light, as he was described as god-like, a shining beacon and memorable. Dark communication described Fenton as being manipulative, deceitful, and, at times, emotionally abusive.

Disciplines

Communication

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