Beyond Invention: How Hackers Challenge Memory & Disrupt Delivery
Lockridge, Timothy Alan
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This dissertation uses a case study of 2600: The Hacker Quarterly to consider how the practices of a hacker public might be theorized as a rhetorical activity. The project is contextualized within a history of hacking (building from a narrative that centers on Levy's 1984 book Hackers) and within the arc of recent copyright legislation, specifically the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the 2011-12 Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) debates. Within this framework, the dissertation examines how specific patterns and cases within 2600 might further our understanding of the rhetorical canons of memory and delivery and of dissent in digital spaces. Specifically, the project presents three practices of memory at work in 2600: Aggregating, Fingerprinting, and Narrating. Drawing on the work of Collin Gifford Brooke and Mary Carruthers, among others, the dissertation examines how texts printed in 2600 present memory not as an inert technology but rather as a practice and a pedagogy—a response to the increasing commercialization of technology. The dissertation then uses Jim Porter's techne of digital delivery to analyze three specific moments in 2600's history (the 1985 U.S. Government raid on New Jersey hackers, the E911 lawsuit, and the DeCSS narrative), illustrating how our spaces of textual production have become increasingly regulated and commercialized and considering how that regulation/commercialization affects our understanding of ownership, circulation, and the public sphere. Building on Michel de Cereteau's concept of strategies and tactics and Michael Warner's theory of (counter)publics, the dissertation ultimately argues that a history of hacker publics offers one way to reconceptualize and reintegrate theories and technologies of digital circulation into our scholarly work and curricular goals.
- Doctoral Dissertations