Digital Existence: Ontology, Ethics and Transcendence in Digital Culture, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Digital Existence

Ontology, Ethics and Transcendence in Digital Culture, 1st Edition

Edited by Amanda Lagerkvist


286 pages

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Hardback: 9781138092433
pub: 2018-08-02
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Digital Existence: Ontology, Ethics and Transcendence in Digital Culture advances debates on digital culture and digital religion in two complementary ways. First, by focalizing the themes ‘ontology,’ ‘ethics’ and ‘transcendence,’ it builds on insights from research on digital religion in order to reframe the field and pursue an existential media analysis that further pushes beyond the mandatory focus in mainstream media studies on the social, cultural, political and economic dimensions of digitalization. Second, the collection also implies a broadening of the scope of the debate in the field of media, religion and culture – and digital religion in particular – beyond ‘religion,’ to include the wider existential dimensions of digital media. It is the first volume on our digital existence in the budding field of existential media studies.


"In each of these essays the reader is treated to an analysis which highlights important concepts, such as our loss of privacy and the quantification and objectification of our lives. Yet, these essays also give a demonstration of the way that these technologies may provide new forums of addressing important human psychological and religious needs […] this collection of essays offers a fascinating interrogation of meaning in our digital lives."

- Prof. Randall Reed, Applachain State University, Reading Religion

Table of Contents


John Durham Peters


Digital Existence: An Introduction

Amanda Lagerkvist


PART I: Media Ontologies

1 Irremediability: On the Very Concept of Digital Ontology

Justin Clemens and Adam Nash

2 Umwelt and Individuation: Digital Signals and Technical Being

Jonas Andersson Schwarz

3 Thrownness, Vulnerability, Care: A Feminist Ontology for the Digital Age

Margaret Schwartz

4 Digital Unworld(s): The Bielefeld Conspiracy

Yvette Granata


PART II: Being Human: Extension, Exposure and Ethics

5 You Have Been Tagged: Magical Incantations, Digital Incarnations and Extended Selves

Paul Frosh

6 Surveillance, Sensors, and Knowledge through the Machine

Sun-ha Hong

7 Social Media and the Care of the Self

Ganaele Langlois

8 The Ethics of Digital Being: Vulnerability, Invulnerability, and ‘Dangerous Surprises’

Vincent Miller


PART III: Transcendence: Beyond Life, Death and the Human

9 The Internet is Always Awake: Sensations, Sounds and Silences of the Digital Grave

Amanda Lagerkvist

10 Digital Rituals and the Quest for Existential Security

Johanna Sumiala

11 Cybernetic Animism: Non-Human Personhood and the Internet

Devin Proctor

12 Death in Life and Life in Death: Forms and Fates of the Human

Connor Graham and Alfred Montoya


Charles M. Ess

About the Author/Editor

Amanda Lagerkvist is Associate Professor of Media and Communication Studies at Stockholm University, Sweden, and was appointed Wallenberg Academy Fellow in 2013. She is head of the research programme "Existential Terrains: Memory and Meaning in Cultures of Connectivity" ( in the Department of Media Studies at Stockholm University, funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation, and Stockholm University (2014–2018). She has worked in the fields of media philosophy and media memory studies, and is now developing existential media studies, by focusing on memories of the dead online, after death communication, online mourning and shared vulnerability, the digital afterlife and the transcendence industry. She is the author of Media and Memory in New Shanghai: Western Performances of Futures Past (2013) and the co-editor of Strange Spaces: Explorations into Mediated Obscurity (2009). She is currently writing a monograph entitled Existential Media.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Religion and Digital Culture

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Comparative Religion
RELIGION / Philosophy
RELIGION / Spirituality
RELIGION / Religion & Science
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies