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“We Do Not Forgive. We Do Not Forget”: Anonymous, Precarity, and a New Digital Sovereignty

Mon, May 29, 11:00 to 12:15, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Floor: 3, Aqua Salon F


This paper draws on scholarship on biopolitics to examine how the hacktivist political organization Anonymous is premised on embracing and subverting the concept of ‘precarity’. Through observational research of the spaces occupied by Anonymous, as well as notable cases of federal retribution against members, I examine how the political identity and narratives around Anonymous are rooted in the idea of the precarity of existence—both online and offline. I argue that in the tradition of the mythological trickster and mischief-maker, Anonymous has managed to overturn unfavourable circumstances to suit their own agenda. As an analysis of campaigns and protest movements demonstrates, Anonymous is skilled at subverting the notion of precarity and using it as a strategic tool in their own campaigns. I conclude that this process of negotiation and subversion of precarity eventually leads to a new sovereignty, where the transgressiveness of Anonymous endows them with a unique necropolitical power. This is the power to control digital footprints, and grant the right to a virtual death.


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