This is r0ket science! Modernity, Capitalism and Liberalism in Hacker Culture - Dunajcsik Péter (Hungary, 2012)

This is r0ket science! Modernity, Capitalism and Liberalism in Hacker Culture

2011 August, Finowfurt airport, Germany. Around 5000 hackers gather for a week in tents and hangars to celebrate knowledge, sharing and creativity. The conference is called Chaos Communication Camp, and all participants receive a conference badge called the r0ket. It displays your name on an LCD panel, but it does much more than that: it is a primitive computer and wireless device designed to trigger all the cultural allergies of hackers. You can play the famous retro game Space Invaders on it, and the high scores of the game are shared amongst the crowd. Two hours after takeoff the high score system is already hacked: somebody leads the top of the list with -27500 points. Before the end of the conference, the badge is used as a component in a Do It Yourself Geiger counter, as a remote control for drones, as an electronic torch, and a dozen other amazing purposes. It has no price and it cannot be bought, but anybody can build one from basic components following the online documentation. It is a typical result of the work that goes on in more than 500 hackerspaces around the world. 

In this study I follow a technological artifact called r0ket as it moves through the hackerspace scene. I concentrate in tracing the connections the r0ket makes inside and outside the scene as well as its internal technological structure. Based on the ethnographic data, I ask whether these connections make sense in the framework of categories like modernity, liberalism and capitalism. I posit an interactive relationship between the categories and the network data, in which the data can modify categories, but categories can also highlight the more interesting patterns and connections in the data itself. Finally, I ask if theories of nonmodernity can explain some of the discrepancies between categories and data.

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