small group work on politics, new media, hacking

Please work through the questions below with your assigned group. Answers to most questions can be found directly in the assigned reading. Please also make sure you jot down notes so you can recall your answers when we go over the questions on Monday.

“Politics and New Media”:

  1. Why and how (in what specific ways) do people tend to think that the Internet provides the possibility of undermining traditional political institutions, hierarchies, and power relations? Looking back on what we’ve learned so far in class, how do social network sites seem to support this belief and how do they undermine this belief?
  2. What is communicative capitalism and how does it express a skepticism toward the possibility of the power of networks (and, by implication, social networks) to bring about any kind of meaningful social change?
  3. Tactical media use “shifts the aim of politics away from traditional revolutionary aims into a ‘micropolitics of disruption, intervention, and education.'” Go to and choose one tactical media project to look at. Then, discuss the project in terms of the previous quote.
  4. And finally, what exactly does the author mean by this sentence: “Early notions that the abstract geometry of cyberspace would allow an escape from binary structures and the concrete constraints of power (Haraway 1991) have been challenged by a recognition of the integration of cyberspace and everyday life.” Can you come up with some examples to support what Hands is saying here?


  1. What is a hacker?
  2. Given this definition, come up with a way in which you have hacked something, some system, whether computer-based or not.
  3. Who are the heirs of hackers?
  4. What’s the distinction between a hacker who’s a builder and a hacker who’s a breaker?
  5. What is UNIX? Speculate about why it attracts hackers. Also, why are hackers who work on UNIX said to be part of “a recursive public”?

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