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Accepted Paper:

Access Denied: An Unequal Conversation  
Thomas Hoppenheit (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the ways in which the ban of the German website "Linksunten.indymedia" in 2017 has been legitimatized politically, juridically, and medially. By also drawing on the larger literature it attempts to give voice to those actors responsible for executing a political decision.

Paper long abstract:

In the summer of 2017, shortly after the G20 protest in Hamburg, Germany, the left-wing online platform "Linksunten.indymedia" - itself being part of a worldwide network of websites founded after the WTO 1999 meeting in Seattle - was banned. Taking this not so isolated event as an example, this paper addresses the bigger picture of situating the platform to its (anonymous) members, its perceived agenda driven in part by anti-capitalist ideals, and the German governments apparent need to act upon it in multiple ways and at this point in time.

By drawing on official political and juridical statements, related journalistic articles in a broader sense, and insights from comparable events, I focus on the period from making the official decision up to its execution. By following the chain of command (and possible resistance) the paper will relate specific actions and actors to social science's current theories on bureaucracy, authority, (dis)obedience and, to some extent, practices of censorship.

While some on the website's content may have been debatable, the way this takedown has been legitimatized politically, juridically, and medially has been critiqued ever since. Together with search warrants executed by the police, politics argued with loopholes in German law to ban and thereby censor the work of many anonymous users of the website, and therefore effectively shut down any possible dialogue which potentially could have challenged the status quo.

Panel P081
Mobilising policies: indolence, zealousness, discretionality and beyond [ANTHROMOB]
  Session 1 Thursday 16 August, 2018, -