Cyborg Activism: Exploring the reconfigurations of democratic subjectivity in Anonymous

Asenbaum, H. 2018. Cyborg Activism: Exploring the reconfigurations of democratic subjectivity in Anonymous. New Media & Society. 20 (4), pp. 1543-1563. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444817699994

TitleCyborg Activism: Exploring the reconfigurations of democratic subjectivity in Anonymous
AuthorsAsenbaum, H.
Abstract

This article develops the concept of cyborg activism as novel configuration of democratic subjectivity in the Information Age by exploring the online collectivity Anonymous as a prototype. By fusing elements of human/machine and organic/digital the cyborg disrupts modern logics of binary thinking. Cyborg activism emerges as the reconfiguration of equality/hierarchy, reason/emotion, and nihilism/idealism. Anonymous demonstrates how through the use of contingent and ephemeral digital personae hierarchies in cyborg activism prove more volatile than in face-to-face settings. Emotions appear as an essential part of a politics of passion, which enables pursuing laughter and joy, expressing anger, and experiencing empowerment as part of a reasoned, strategic politics. Anonymous’ political content reconfigures nihilist sentiments, frustration, and political disenchantment on the one hand with idealist world views on the other. This enables the cohabitation and partial integration of a great diversity of political claims rooted in various ideologies.

Keywordsactivism, social movements, digital democracy, online participation, anonymity
JournalNew Media & Society
Journal citation20 (4), pp. 1543-1563
ISSN1461-4448
Year2018
PublisherSage
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444817699994
Publication dates
Published in printApr 2018
Published online28 Mar 2017
Published28 Mar 2017

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