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Accepted Paper:

Phreaker/hacker/troller as trickster  
E. Gabriella Coleman (NYU)

Paper long abstract:

In this paper I lay out the connection between the trickster (the mythical archetype) and the living, breathing practices of phreakers, hackers, and trollers. I will lay out some of the similarities based on some consistent features of tricksters, which will allow me to provide some instances of phreaking/hacking/trolling that can be considered in terms of trickery. At the moral and political heart of my talk lies the following question: For the most part the trickster is enshrined in myth and stories. What happens when we can locate tricksters in full-bodied, full-blooded groups of people who are actually engaging in all sorts of acts of trickery? This is culture not in the sense of art and myth but people and practice and this of course makes a difference. What happens when you are the recipient not of a story by an elder, but the recipient of tricker, an act of pranking or trolling? What are the implication when you can trace the reworking of boundaries enacted by acts of hacking?

Panel IW003
Digital anthropology
  Session 1