Political Ecology

  • 4pm

  • Evolution House, Design Informatics Studio (T-Room, Level 2)
    78 West Port
    EH1 2LE

Led by Brett Matulis, University of Leicester.

In our increasingly digital society, we must work to understand new digital identities and shifting relations of digital power. Already social media and other means of virtual discourse have reshaped the way we think about protest and political action. The "surface web" is now ubiquitous in campaigning and an essential means of organising political action. Critiques of new-media-based social movements, however, have suggested that digital activism is too deeply embedded in the ideologies of neoliberalism - and online identity is too deeply exploited under cognitive capitalism - for it to foster genuinely transformative politics. In light of this important critique, digital activists have been taking to the so-called "darknet" (an underworld of technologically untraceable communication) to engage in collective political activism.

In this talk, I explore anonymous activism coordinated on the darknet and work to conceptualise this growing political arena. In addition, I consider how these technologies may be producing new spatialities of power wherein political actions can be coordinated and carried out from unknown and unfixed geographic locations simply by connecting to computer networks and exploiting vulnerabilities in network security.

Brett Matulis is a Lecturer in the Human Geography at the University of Leicester. He has interests in environment, development, digital politics, privacy, and cryptographic society.

Part of the 2017/18 Design Informatics Seminar series.

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