Hackers’ Media Practices: Demonstrating and Articulating Expertise as Interlocking Arrangements

Kubitschko, Sebastian. 2015. Hackers’ Media Practices: Demonstrating and Articulating Expertise as Interlocking Arrangements. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 21(3), ISSN 1354-8565 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The increased level of technical abstractness poses a challenge for laypersons and politicians alike to notice the political impacts specific technical developments might bring. By presenting qualitative research on Europe’s oldest and one of the world’s largest hacker organizations – the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) – the article shows that the CCC acts as a civil society organization that brings together a wide range of knowledge, skills and experiences related to media technologies and infrastructures. By deconstructing the abstractness of a given technology, the CCC materializes its formerly unrecognized political quality. Yet, the political endeavour of closing the expert-public gap, in the interests of public democracy, is only brought to life once the outcomes of a particular hack are communicated in comprehensible manners to diverse publics and audiences. Overall the article points to the emergence of new modes and practices of expertise by conceptualizing the Club’s active demonstration of expertise through hacking and its articulation of expertise through media- related practices and interactions with institutional politics as interlocking arrangements. Today, hackers – and in particular hacker organizations – are best considered actors whose skills, knowledge and experiences are ever more relevant for political cultures and democracy at large.

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Additional Information:

The research and writing presented in this article were made possible by a scholarship from Goldsmiths’ Media and Communication Department and the University of Bremen’s Creative Unit ‘Communicative Figurations’ (funded within the frame of the Excellence Initiative by the German Federal and State Governments).


Articulation, chaos computer club, civil society organization, democracy, expertise, hackers, media environments, media practices, media technologies and infrastructures

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


24 April 2015Published

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Date Deposited:

28 Apr 2015 09:59

Last Modified:

28 Apr 2015 09:59

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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