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Aesthetics, performativity and resistance in the narratives of a computer programming community
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Industrial Management.
2006 (English)In: Human Relations, ISSN 0018-7267, E-ISSN 1741-282X, Vol. 59, no 6, 753-782 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article reports on an empirical study of a computer programmer community, focusing on online exchanges in which participants discuss the aesthetics of coding. Naturalistic data were collected during a 12-month period of non-participant observation of the software community in question. The authors estimate that approximately 200 participants are represented in the main dataset. Narrative data are presented under two interpretative rubrics: 'programmer performatives' and 'commercial performativity'. We seek to demonstrate that there is the online equivalent of a great deal of intricate 'face work' that programmers do in their narrative exchanges. In expressing and conforming to a 'hacker ethic', programmer narratives simultaneously evince technical, ethical and aesthetic motives. There is frequent articulation of resistance and subversive intent expressed toward representatives of employers and employing organizations. Software engineers are acutely aware of the facets of organizational control and demands for performativity that they feel compromise their artistic endeavours. Programmers make sense of their condition ideologically both through their practical pursuit of coding ideals and by espousing a hacker ethic that legitimates their passionate engagement with coding tasks.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 59, no 6, 753-782 p.
Keyword [en]
Aesthetics, Computer programmers, Cyberculture, Narrative, Performativity, Resistance
National Category
Economics and Business
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-156335DOI: 10.1177/0018726706066853ISI: 000239387700002ScopusID: 2-s2.0-33745624820OAI: diva2:766691

QC 20141128

Available from: 2014-11-28 Created: 2014-11-26 Last updated: 2015-10-13Bibliographically approved

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