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WikiLeaks, Anarchism and Technologies of Dissent

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Abstract:  WikiLeaks is a controversial organisation that attracts polarised responses. This is not unexpected given its key objective of exposing the secrets and social control ambitions of the powerful. While its supporters laud its pursuit of an informational commons, its detractors condemn its antisocial character, its megalomania—and its anarchism. It is the latter that particularly interests us here. This paper treats the “charge” of anarchism seriously, however, giving it the analytical attention it warrants. It does this by first identifying those characteristics of the organisation that would render it anarchist, and then to conceptualise what this anarchism means. It highlights two important elements of the WikiLeaks story: the anarchical character of the technologies it utilises to foment its dissent; and the anarchical ethos of the organisation's radical politics. We conclude by also considering the tensions and contradictions in WikiLeaks that temper both its anarchism and its social change objectives.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8330.2012.01009.x

Affiliations: 1: School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; 2: School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia;

Publication date: March 1, 2013

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