My Contribution to the Guardian/Tech: „Anonymous: peering behind the mask“
First 4chan and later, as a result of dealing with the former, Anonymous have been on my radar for quite a bit now.* The related coverage in the mainstream media has, however, been so focussed on the issues of cyber war, cybercrime and hacking that it missed an important distinction: the distinction between Anonymous, the hacktivist group (consisting of a fluctuating number of individuals involved) and Anonymous, the collective identity (which was used by the hacktivist group, but can actually be used by anyone who is familiar enough with its rules to apply them in communication and action).
Of all the newspapers reporting on Anonymous and its recent operations (Payback, Leakspin, Sony), the Guardian/Technology stood out in terms of coverage, complexity and especially original investigation (read for instance Charles Arthur’s piece „Inside ‚Anonymous‘: tales from within the group taking aim at Amazon and Mastercard„).
If anywhere, I wanted to contribute this aspect of my research – the distinction between collective identity and concrete operations of a hacktivist group – to the Guardian’s Technology blog. I am glad they also saw where and what it would contribute, so here it is: „Anonymous: peering behind the mask“ (Disclaimer: The opener – the bit with ‚cyber terrorists – was written by the editors):
Alternatively, download a PDF printout.
*) See also these articles_
Herwig, Jana, "The Archive as the Repertoire. Mediated and Embodied Practice on Imageboard 4chan.org", in: Günther Friesinger/Thomas Ballhausen (eds.): Mind and Matter. Paraflows 10 Symposium, conference proceedings, to appear in print in 2011.
• Download manuscript, PDF, 205 KB
German / Deutsch
Herwig, Jana, "’Post your desktop!’" – Analyse eines Sonderfalls der Verhandlung von Nähe und Identität im Web", in: Media and Proximity / Medialität der Nähe, Tagungsband, Siegen, Graduiertenschule Locating Media, erscheint 2011
• Download Manuskript, PDF, 246 KB
Herwig, Jana, "Fluktuierende Kollektive, lebendiges Archiv: Semiologische Praktiken im Imageboard 4chan", in: Christine Ehardt/Daniela Pillgrab/Marina Rauchenbacher/Barbara Alge (Hg.): Inzenierung von „Weiblichkeit“. Zur Konstruktion von Körperbildern in der Kunst, Wien: Loecker 2011 (im Erscheinen).
• Download Manuskript, PDF, 220 KB