Towards a nonlinear, material history of digital swarms

Micali, Alberto (2017) Towards a nonlinear, material history of digital swarms. Internet Histories. Digital Technology, Culture and Society, 1 (3). pp. 238-257. ISSN 2470-1475

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In contemporary internetworked societies, digital media and networks have increasingly become a ‘battlefield’ where, following the emergence of novel power relations, new forms of resistance have come to the fore. Amongst these resistances, there are so-called ‘digital swarms’. This is a communicational disruption also technically known in computing as ‘Distributed Denial-of-Service’ (DDoS): a form of political dissent that, in the last years, has hit the headlines thanks to the digital media actions of Anonymous. This article focuses on these forms of mediation, approaching digital swarms via a historical analysis that stresses nonlinearity and materiality. I argue that digital swarming actions cannot be read as an issue of obtaining attention through media visibility, and that the disruptions these lead to cannot be accounted as mere metaphors of street political action, finding conversely their cultural history in other forms of media disruptiveness. This historical excavation points, then, towards a different genealogy for digital swarms, acknowledging the key material dimensions at stake via the infrastructural character of disruptive mediations as well as via non-anthropomorphic patterns of enunciation.

Keywords:hacktivism, digital activism, digital swarms, ddos, nonlinear history, materiality, Anonymous, media resistance, media histories, Non-Representational Theory
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P300 Media studies
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Media)
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ID Code:27887
Deposited On:18 Jul 2017 14:55

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