Cruise ships. Non-human modern monsters


The aim of this article is to literally explore the declinations of the status of the “monstruous thing”, investigating if and when monsters are abnormal phenomena, not of nature but of culture. Which features, of both expression and content, must a non-living artificial subject (one that is neither human or animal) present in order to be perceived and judged as a “monster”? In the West, the image of the monster is traditionally associated with an abominable creature belonging to the universe of nature whose touchstone is a standard unit of measurement associated with a human or animal body. Here, we are interested in seeing what happens when these value judgments about monsters are applied to non-organic entities. Our case study of the large cruise ships, starting with ocean liners and moving toward the modern behemoths that now enter our historic cities, discloses a new semiosis of monstrosity caused by the war of movement produced by globalization.