Table of contents
About this book
Hacking Europe focuses on the playfulness that was at the heart of how European users appropriated microcomputers in the last quarter of the twentieth century. The essays argue that users--whether the design of the projected use of computers was detailed or still unfinished--assigned their own meanings to the machines in unintended ways. The book traces the user practices of chopping games in Warsaw, hacking software in Athens, creating chaos in Hamburg, producing demos in Turku, and partying with computing in Zagreb and Amsterdam. Focusing on several European countries at the end of the Cold War, the collection of essays shows the digital development was not an exclusively American affair, but far more diverse and complicated. Local hacker communities appropriated the computer and forged new cultures around it like the hackers in Yugoslavia, Poland and Finland, who showed off their tricks and creating distinct “demoscenes.” Together the essays reflect a diverse palette of cultural practices by which European users domesticated computer technologies. Each chapter explores the mediating actors instrumental in introducing and spreading the cultures of computing around Europe. More generally, the “ludological” element--the role of mischief, humor, and play--discussed here as crucial for analysis of hacker culture, opens new vistas for the study of the history of technology.
This illuminating collection of diverse case studies will be of considerable interest to scholars in a range of disciplines, from computer science to the history of technology, and European-American studies.Gerard Alberts teaches history of computing and mathematics at the University of Amsterdam. Ruth Oldenziel is a professor at the Eindhoven University of Technology and is a Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center, Munich in 2013-2014.