Anonymity as Identity: Exploring Collective Identity in Anonymous Cyberactivism

By Amy Leung.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

To date, research within the social sciences examining ‘collective identity’ in cyberactivist movements remains limited. Whilst much of the available literature on cyber social movements assumes that members within the group are aware of each other’s identities, few consider the impacts of individual anonymity on group solidarity. The interaction between the processes of ‘collective identity’ construction and the diverse contexts in which these processes occur provides the background for the current study. The research is based on a thematic analysis of twenty weblog posts and complete discussion forum threads which are then used to inform virtual interviews and focus groups with twenty-five activists who associate themselves with ‘Anonymous’, an online collective of dispersed individuals who are linked through their experiences of Internet culture. The accounts of participants reveal how a ‘liminal collective identity’ is negotiated in online spaces by movements of unidentifiable ‘members’.

Keywords: Cyberactivism,, Collective Identity, Liminal

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp.173-184. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 447.209KB).

Amy Leung

Graduate Student, School of Humanities and Social Science, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

Amy Leung is an honours student at the University of Newcastle, Australia. She graduated from a Bachelor of Social Science with Distinction in 2011, including studies undertaken in 2009 at Ohio University, USA. In 2012, she received the University Medal for her thesis, and was awarded with First Class Honours in Social Science under the direction of Dr. S A Hamed Hosseini (University of Newcastle, Australia). Amy is currently completing a Bachelor of Laws/Diploma of Legal Practice. Her research interests include social movements, cyberactivism, anonymity and online spaces.

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