[FoRK] [silk] Hacker Anthropologists

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Mon Nov 26 05:35:57 PST 2012

----- Forwarded message from Udhay Shankar N <udhay at pobox.com> -----

From: Udhay Shankar N <udhay at pobox.com>
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2012 18:56:03 +0530
To: silklist at lists.hserus.net
Subject: Re: [silk] Hacker Anthropologists
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Reply-To: silklist at lists.hserus.net

On 13-Jan-11 10:03 PM, Udhay Shankar N wrote:

> One silklister, writing about another.
> I'm posting this a) posting this in the hope of getting Biella to come
> out of lurkspace; and b) just for the coolness inherent in the phrase
> 'hacker anthropologist'. :)
> Udhay
> http://www.boingboing.net/2011/01/13/interview-with-hacke.html

Another piece by Cory, on Biella's new book. I think that a couple more
silklisters (Chris Kelty and Casey O' Donnell) were involved in the
dissertation process in some way, as well. Congrats on the book!



Coding Freedom: an anthropologist understands hacker culture

Biella Coleman is a geek anthropologist, in both senses of the epithet:
an anthropologist who studies geeks, and a geek who is an
anthropologist. Though she's best known today for her excellent and
insightful work on the mechanism and structure underpinning Anonymous
and /b/, Coleman is also an expert on the organization, structure,
philosophy and struggles of the free software/open source movements. I
met Biella while she was doing fieldwork as an intern at the Electronic
Frontier Foundation. She's also had deep experience with the Debian
project and many other hacker/FLOSS subcultures.

Coleman's has published her dissertation, edited and streamlined, under
the title of Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking, which
comes out today from Princeton University Press (Quinn Norton, also well
known for her Wired reporting on Anonymous and Occupy, had a hand in the
editing). Coding Freedom walks the fine line between popular
accessibility and scholarly rigor, and does a very good job of
expressing complex ideas without (too much) academic jargon.

Coding Freedom is insightful and fascinating, a superbly observed
picture of the motives, divisions and history of the free software and
software freedom world. As someone embedded in both those worlds, I
found myself surprised by connections I'd never made on my own, but
which seemed perfectly right and obvious in hindsight. Coleman's work
pulls together a million IRC conversations and mailing list threads and
wikiwars and gets to their foundations, the deep discussion evolving
through the world of free/open source software.

((Udhay Shankar N)) ((udhay @ pobox.com)) ((www.digeratus.com))

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