Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Media Studies

Supervisor

Dr. Nick Dyer-Witheford

Abstract

The hacktivist collective Anonymous has been known to follow nonhierarchical, amorphous and sometimes contradictory strategies for online activism. This may weaken their potential to become a populist movement, as out-group members may find Anonymous’s politics obscure and out of reach. Anonymous’s communiqués compensate for this by enabling direct communication with the public. But as a critical discourse analysis finds, the communicative strategies employed deviate from logics of difference and non-identity. They express rigid beliefs, even at times under the banner of universal truth.

However, these findings do not suggest Anonymous inevitably embraces identity. By adopting a Deleuzian concept of minor politics, this thesis proposes that Anonymous’s texts are strategic appropriations of molar identities, emphasizing how the minor never fully exists outside the molar. Rather, the minor is always a movement within or across immanent molar configurations. The tensions and contradictions within Anonymous are thus exemplary of a minor political struggle.


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