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Re: <nettime> The Gentrification of Hacking: How yuppies hacked the
Brian Holmes on Wed, 12 Aug 2015 04:09:26 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> The Gentrification of Hacking: How yuppies hacked the


The philosopher Moishe Postone says that with every fresh growth cycle of capitalism new use values are created, offering common working people a sense of possibility, a feeling of experimentation and social transformation, that is the mainspring of the expansion itself. This happened in the early 20th century, then again in the 50s-early 60s, then again in the late 80s-90s. However, the logic of exchange soon comes to bear, foreclosing those possibilities in favor of reconstituted mechanisms of profit and control, thus creating a kind of treadmill effect. Just when you think you are buiilding a new society, then you are not anymore.

Certainly this happened to the kinds of people now called hackers, but not only them. The expansion of the 90s was cultural as well as informational. On the cultural side, it was all about opening up and then monetizing the fresh relational possibilities created by minority struggles in the 60s and 70s. Gentrification is basically the monetizing phase of this cultural transformation, as expressed in urban space. Just when you think you are creating a revolution in everyday life, then you are not anymore.

The new expansion has begun in the US and will do so globally when Europe's and China's current problems are resolved (perhaps there is one more good crash coming before then). The new expansion has gentrification and a number of other co-optation routines baked in, so there's more of that to come. Plus new things we are only just now experiencing as glimmers of possibility. But I would like off this treadmill. It's really unbearable. There has to be a better way.

This thread seems extremely timely, not just for the analysis of what has happened, but also for what's to come.

yours in a very deep refusal, Brian


On 08/11/2015 10:48 AM, Alessandro Delfanti wrote:

Hi all,

Johan Soderberg and I are writing this paper titled "Repurposing the
hacker. Three temporalities of recuperation". We do adopt a deeper
historical framework while trying to understand how hacking has been
hacked, and try to answer a more general question on how to
analyze/avoid what Brett calls "gentrification" -- more traditionally,
we call it "recuperation" -- and believe this is part of a series of
processes of co-option that go much further than hacking. Indeed we
describe recuperation of hacking in terms of social movement development
and evolution of capitalism. You can download it here, please note it is
just a draft!
<...>


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