Hacking in digital environments

Authored by: Mareile Kaufmann

Routledge Handbook of Media Geographies

Print publication date:  October  2021
Online publication date:  October  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367482855
eBook ISBN: 9781003039068
Adobe ISBN:


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Hackers tend to be portrayed as criminals or activists. In current digital media landscapes, however, hacking inhabits many places. This chapter’s aim is to complicate mainstream notions of hacking and acknowledge its diverse and distributed practices, intentions and instances. Instead of building on the clean model of binaries and “hats,” it offers an understanding of hacking that acknowledges how one hack can involve a variety of ethical, political, social, personal and affective dimensions. It supports an analytic approach of multiplicity, where hacking dataveillance can be understood as anything from pleasureful pragmatism to crafty critique. After briefly mapping the current standpoints and literatures on hacking in digital environments the chapter exemplifies this approach with a case study on hacking dataveillance. The case study grants insight into a field that is relatively new to media geography. Its empirical material illustrates and substantiates the argument about hacking as a multifaceted media practice. Geographically, the chapter’s insights are based on studies with hackers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

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