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Making Our World

The Hacker and Maker Movements in Context


Edited By Jeremy Hunsinger and Andrew Schrock

Making Our World: The Hacker and Maker Movements in Context describes and situates the political, historical, national, and organizational elements of hacking and making. Hackers and makers are often mythologized, leading to people misunderstanding them as folk heroes for the modern age. In response, this book describes and critiques these movements from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives to help readers appreciate their worldwide scope and highly localized interpretations. Making Our World is essential reading for students and scholars of technology and society, particularly those interested in social movements and DIY cultures.

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Section II. Politics Introduction (Andrew R. Schrock)


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Section II. Politics Introduction



Hacking has long been connected with politics through its hybridization with activism. The portmanteau “hacktivism,” popularized by Tim Jordan, referred to a genre of resistant politics expressed online. Many recent texts trace how distributed politics becomes embedded in technologies or find a home online. For example, in The Coming Swarm, Molly Sauter traced the emergence of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that made online resources unusable. They persuasively argued that DDoS attacks reflected a legal and theoretical framework of civil disobedience drawn from history. Another way of looking at hacker politics, then, is as socio-technical assemblages that emerge from particular historical trajectories and reflect local situations and institutions, with varying degrees of political resistance and advocacy.

This section expressly steers clear of the internet as the sole object of study. “Not all studies about contemporary politics and culture,” wrote Michael Schudson in The Rise of the Right to Know, “are about the internet.” He was partly defending his historical approach against those who would misuse it. After all, he was frustrated that his concept of the monitorial citizen had been misinterpreted as a normative ideal. The argument of his book was pushing back against concepts such as the public’s “right to know” being attached solely to digital technologies. The public at large came to view transparency as their right. The emergence of this political understanding required a...

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