Hacktivism as a Radical Media Practice
in The Routledge Companion to Alternative and Community Media, edited by Chris Atton, Routledge, 2015, pp. 550-560
8 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2017
Date Written: December 20, 2015
Hacktivism, a portmanteau of “hacking” and “activism”, indicates the politically motivated use of technical expertise like coding. It addresses network infrastructure or exploits the infrastructure’s technical and ontological features for political or social change: activists seek to fix society through software and online action. Recent example of hacktivism include Anonymous, an online community whose self-identified members engage in disruptive activities using electronic civil disobedience techniques in support of digital freedoms. Hacktivism is a highly contested concept, and different groups of people associate different objectives and tactics under its umbrella, not all of which are compatible. With this contention in mind, this chapter explores the main features of hacktivism as a radical media practice. It offers a historical overview of the phenomenon, and a sociological analysis of hacktivist organizational patterns. It explores hacktivists’ tactics and their approach to institutions and social norms, and the challenges that hacktivism faces in the present and near future, touching upon issues of repression, accountability, and impact.
Keywords: hacktivism, activism, hacking, Anonymous, radical media, media practice
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