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The Slender Man Mythos: a structuralist analysis of an online mythology

ASIMOS, VIVIAN,MARIE (2019) The Slender Man Mythos: a structuralist analysis of an online mythology. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The Slender Man first started on the Something Awful forum threads in 2009, where many users all jointly contributed to the creation of a tall monster who appears to be wearing a suit. He is known for making children disappear and causing violent deaths to the adults who seek to know more about him. His creation was caused by mass communal storytelling, each singular narrative being created by different authors all inspired by their own view of the creature. Despite this more disjointed creation almost ten years ago, the Slender Man has retained an important place online, having spread from his forum thread to web videos, humorous memes, and even video games.

This work seeks to answer the question about what this mythos is truly saying in its deeper levels. Structural anthropological mythic analysis, sometimes paired with ethnographic details, seeks to demonstrate how the Slender Man mythology is structured. Connected to this, we also seek to answer the question of what cultural group the Slender Man’s mythology belongs to, leading to an important question on the existence of “digital culture”. We find the narrative holds a triadic structure, in which the Slender Man does not necessarily have a place, but controls the structural flow. We also find there is little in the way of an existence of a full “digital culture”, but rather that the online environment is comprised of communities.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Feb 2019 11:29

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