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Coding Freedom Symposium: The Hacker Citizen

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2 Responses

  1. Luis says:

    The hacker process of production creates a culture of an engaged citizenry.
    You have to wonder how this could be done in other areas, and/or why it appears to work here where in so many other places in the modern world it fails. (And I say this as a long-time participant in open source, and a lawyer; I don’t have a good grip on what the magic sauce is, though Biella’s book was illuminating in many ways.)

  2. Gabriella Coleman says:

    Hi Luis,

    One way to the answer is to ask why hackers, as opposed to say doctors, are (more) motivated to use their skills and channel them toward activist or public works projects and part of the answer (which I did not address in my book) concerns the plethora of “free spaces” maintained by hackers. These spaces include Internet Relay Chat, RFCs, BBSes, hackers spaces, and the autonomous developer conferences and festivals. I came late to the term (wish I had not) but it is used by sociologists of social movement to capture spaces –and they need not be physical-that allow people to come together and develop a set of alternative ethics that under certain conditions are activated and channeled toward political causes. It strikes me that one reason hackers are so present has to do with the existence of free spaces. A good article that covers the theory behind free spaces is

    “Free spaces” in collective action

    Francesca Polletta
    Columbia University
    Theory and Society (impact factor: 1.06). 01/1999; 28(1):1-38. DOI:10.1023/A:1006941408302