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
Date Written: June 23, 2015
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
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