The legend of the Slender Man: The boogieman of surveillance culture

Abigail Curlew


Western societies have developed a culture of surveillance that frames how social actors understand institutional and vernacular forms of “watching”. Through the intersection of folklore, anthropology, and sociology, I explore the performances of the Slender Man legend as a monstrous cultural artifact representative of cultural anxieties around surveillance, social control, and secretive agencies. This blend of disciplines will help illuminate central cultural fears and anxieties within Internet sub-cultural groups. My goal in this paper is to understand how participants of alternate reality games (ARGs) exhibit anxieties about ubiquitous surveillance through uncoordinated collective storytelling.


Surveillance; Hybrid Folklore; Digital Vernacular; Slender Man

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