Whiz Kids or Juvenile Delinquents: A Sociological Perspective The Construction of Hacker Identity

Presented at DEF CON 13 (2005), July 29, 2005, 5 p.m. (20 minutes)

The paper I will be presenting serves as a rudimentary literature review on how hackers may be constructed as either deviants or non-deviants in society. This presentation begins by placing hackers within the framework of sociological literature on deviance. I talk about how deviance has historically been a social construction, with the more powerful members of society defining what it is to be deviant, and those with less power are frequently applied the label. I apply sociological definitions of of deviants to hackers, and am able to refute these claims in many cases.


  • Amanda Dean
    I am a doctoral student in the sociology department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The vast majority of my friends are "techies," and as a social scientist, I'm a bit of an outcast. I mitigate some of that by focusing my research attention on the effects of technology on and within society. While getting my master's degree in Criminal Justice at Grand Valley State University, I began to look at some of the laws protecting information and technology, and their social consequences. For my dissertation, I'd like to turn my attention specifically on hackers, hactivism, and global social movements. In my spare time I'm a big time gaming geek which I balance with my addiction to drag racing and canyon carving on my sport bike.


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