The Hacker Imaginaire: Recoding Futures? Technoscientific Promises from the Inventors of the Internet

Simone Ines Lackerbauer


In the 1970s, researchers and engineers built the technical predecessor of today’s global digital networks, but more importantly, they created an “Internet Imaginaire” (Flichy 2007) with the aim of building a global virtual society. In the 1990s, most supporters of the utopian digital community fell silent. The hackers, however, remained, and they still adhere to rules put down in the so-called “hacker ethic” (Levy 1984; Coleman 2015), such as decentralization and freedom of information, which contribute to a sociotechnical “Hacker Imaginaire.” With the Sociology of Knowledge Approach to Discourse (SKAD) as a research programme, this paper investigates the genesis and perseverance of this imaginary by uncovering technoscientific promises in media documents and interviews, which were formulated in response to the continued development of Internet-based technologies and fuel this imaginary; and by describing its phenomenal structure.

Klíčová slova

internet research, sociotechnical studies, sociology of knowledge approach to discourse (SKAD), discourse analysis, sociotechnical imaginary, cyberculture, hackers

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