Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Hacking the Public Spheres of the Future: An Analysis of Contemporary Civil Information Society

Dr. Yvonne Houy.

Net.citizens are creating virtual spaces for political activism reminiscent of Habermas’ utopian “public sphere”. Analyzing information and communication technologies (ICTs) as socially constructed techne, this paper analyzes online social interactions and Hacker culture as builders of virtual “third spaces” that could function as a civil information society in which global and local political activism can be realized in the complex post-9/11 world.

Googling and surfing, hacking and spamming have become the activities useful to the net.citizens interested in shifting hegemonic discourses locally as well as globally. The socially constructed, constantly changing architecture of the Internet, and the continuing presence of profit-driven mass media as intermediary between private citizens and state functionaries help as well hinder net.citizens’ efforts. I show how online communities clash and/or create fluid and flexible political bodies capable of effective political activism in the post-9/11 world, and discuss what the limits of such political activism are.


Dr. Yvonne Houy
Visiting Assistant Professor

  • Information and Communication Technologies
  • Online Communities
  • Hackers
  • Political Activism
  • Civil Society
  • Public Sphere
  • Techne
Person as Subject
  • Habermas, Jurgen

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)