This presentation explores hacktivism, or hacking with political motivations, reflecting in particular on how we can contextualize hacktivism. The case study of RedHack – a hacktivist organization founded in Turkey in the late 1990s and active since 2012 – is a peculiar example that combines a Marxist ideology with a digital repertoire of contention. Grounded in critical criminology theories and media studies, the focus of this exploration is the relationship between the state and the hacktivist group in the process of criminalization of hacktivism. The presentation problematizes legal boundaries drawn for hacktivism in Turkey by adopting a constructivist approach for crime, illustrating that the boundaries defining crime are not brute material facts but products of the interactional processes between the agents of social control and hacktivists, labelled as terrorists during this process. This examination draws together the contemporary political crisis in Turkey, residual anxieties of the Turkish state, and global trends related to the social construction of terrorism.
Bülay Doğan is interested in digital activism, particularly in hacktivism. A graduate of Galatasaray University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, she received her M.A. in Modern Turkish History from Bogazici University. In her doctoral studies, she is primarily studying the interaction of social movements and ideology with science and technology. Her research also focuses on Information Technology and criminal laws and includes the sociology of the state.
She is currently a doctoral candidate at the Department of Media and Visual Arts in Koç University (Istanbul), a Research Fellow at the Annenberg School for Communication, and a member of the Union for Democratic Communications. In addition, she is one of the founders and executive board members of Ozgen Berkol Doğan Science Fiction Library, a unique association specialized in science-fiction, fantasy, and horror literatures in Turkey.
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