A Bestiary of Digital Monsters

  • Rachel Douglas-JonesEmail author
  • John Mark Burnett
  • Marisa Cohn
  • Christopher Gad
  • Michael Hockenhull
  • Bastian Jørgensen
  • James Maguire
  • Mace Ojala
  • Brit Ross Winthereik
Conference paper
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 543)


This article puts forward a bestiary of digital monsters. By bringing into dialogue scholarship in monster theory with that in science and technology studies, we develop the idea of the bestiary as a way of exploring sites where digital monsters are made. We discuss the role of bestiaries in narrating anxieties about the present. We proceed to populate our bestiary with various sociotechnical ‘beasts’ arising in collaborative research project on new data relations in Denmark. The paper argues for the place of the ever-incomplete bestiary in understanding digital monsters, for the bestiary’s role as gathering point within our project, and for its capacities to speak beyond a single research setting. Through the bestiary, we look toward the ways we already live with monsters and to the forms of analysis available for describing the beasts in our midst.


Bestiary Digital Monster 



With thanks to the Data as Relation research group, particularly Jannick Schou whose monster appeared in earlier versions of this paper. The draft paper was presented at the second seminar of the Research Network for the Anthropology of Technology in Copenhagen, September 2018 and we thank participants for their constructive comments. The project is funded by the Villum Fonden, Denmark, under grant agreement 12823.


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IT University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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