Repurposing the Hacker. Three Cycles of Recuperation in the Evolution of Hacking and Capitalism

21 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2015 Last revised: 30 Oct 2017

See all articles by Alessandro Delfanti

Alessandro Delfanti

University of California, Davis; University of Toronto - Faculty of Information

Johan Söderberg

Göteborg University

Date Written: June 23, 2015

Abstract

The spread of hacking to new fields brings with it a renewed necessity to analyse its significance in relation to industrial and institutional innovation. We sketch out a framework drawing on the idea of ‘recuperation’ and use it to situate an emerging body of work on hackers. By adopting the concept of recuperation, we highlight how hacker practices and innovations are adopted, adapted and repurposed by corporate and political actors. In other words, hacking itself is being hacked. We suggest three cycles within which this dynamics unfolds and can be studied: 1) the life cycle of an individual technology or community, 2) the co-evolution of hacker movements and relevant industries or institutions, 3) the position of hacking within the ‘spirit of the times’, or, differently put, the periodic transformations of capitalism.

Keywords: digital culture, hacking, new media, alternative technologies, recuperation

Suggested Citation

Delfanti, Alessandro and Söderberg, Johan, Repurposing the Hacker. Three Cycles of Recuperation in the Evolution of Hacking and Capitalism (June 23, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2622106 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2622106

Alessandro Delfanti (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Apt 153
Davis, CA 95616
United States

University of Toronto - Faculty of Information ( email )

140 St George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G6
Canada

Johan Söderberg

Göteborg University

Viktoriagatan 30
Göteborg, 405 30
Sweden

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