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Digital Environmental Politics and the New Geographies of Anonymous Online Power

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  • UserBrett Matulis
  • ClockTuesday 08 November 2016, 13:00-14:00
  • HouseSeminar Room.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr. Chris Sandbrook.

As the human encounter with nature takes place in an increasingly digitally-mediated world, we must work to understand environmental politics in the context of digital activism. Already social media and other means of virtual discourse are re-shaping conservation and environmental governance. The “surface web” is now ubiquitous in environmental campaigning and an essential means of organising political action. Critiques of new-media-based social movements, however, have suggested that digital activism is too deeply embedded in the ideologies of neoliberalism – and online identity is too deeply exploited under cognitive capitalism – for it to foster genuinely transformative politics. In light of this important critique, digital activists have been taking to the so-called “darknet” (an underworld of technologically untraceable communication) to engage in collective political activism. In this talk, I explore anonymous environmental activism coordinated on the darknet and work to conceptualise this growing political arena. In addition, I consider how these technologies may be producing new spatialities of power wherein political actions can be coordinated and carried out from unknown and unfixed geographic locations simply by connecting to computer networks and exploiting vulnerabilities in network security.

This talk is part of the Political Ecology Group meetings series.

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