Hacker Culture

Hacker Culture

Hacker Culture

Hacker Culture

Synopsis

"Douglas Thomas is associate professor in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Since the 1983 release of the movie WarGames, the figure of the computer hacker has been inextricably linked to the cultural, social, and political history of the computer. That history, however, is fraught with complexity and contradictions that involve mainstream media representations and cultural anxieties about technology. Moreover, hacking has its own history, which is itself as complex as it is interesting. In tracing out these intricate, intertwining narratives, this book is an effort to understand both who hackers are as well as how mainstream culture sees them. Part of the complexity is a result of the fact that these two constructions, hacker identity and mainstream representation, often reflect on each other, blurring the lines between fact and fiction.

The term “hacker” has its own historical trajectory, meaning different things to different generations. Computer programmers from the 1950s and 1960s, who saw their work as breaking new ground by challenging old paradigms of computer science, think of hacking as an intellectual exercise that has little or nothing to do with the exploits of their 1980s and 1990s counterparts. Indeed, this older generation of hackers prefer to call their progeny “crackers” in order to differentiate themselves from what they perceive as their younger criminal counterparts. The younger generation take umbrage at such distinctions, arguing that today's hackers are doing the real work of exploration, made necessary by the earlier generation's selling out. In some ways, these younger hackers argue, they have managed to stay true to the most fundamental tenets of the original hacker ethic. Accordingly, the very definition of the term “hacker” is widely and fiercely disputed by both critics of and participants in the computer underground. Indeed, because the term is so highly contested, it gives a clue to both the significance and the mercurial nature of the subculture itself. Moreover, there seems to be little agreement within . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.