Hackers Against Technology: Critique and recuperation in technological cycles



I offer an interpretation of hackers’ technological choices through a theoretical framework of critique and recuperation in technological cycles, building on prior research that brings the pragmatic sociology of Boltanski and Chiapello to bear on matters in Science and Technology Studies. I argue that contextualizing technology choices in the development of capitalism through innovation illuminates their political significance. I start with the counterintuitive observation that some browser extensions popular with hackers, like RequestPolicy, make it considerably harder for them to look at websites. This observation showcases the Luddite aspects of hackerdom, in that they are willing to ‘break’ popular websites that would otherwise cheat on the user. In line with an undercurrent of hacker studies, in this case study I find hackers fighting technological progress they see as social decline.

Maxigas. (2017). Hackers against technology: Critique and recuperation in technological cycles. Social Studies of Science, 47(6), 841-860.