Online Misogyny as Witch Hunt: Primitive Accumulation in the Age of Techno-capitalism

  • Eugenia SiaperaEmail author


Focusing primarily on the European and “Western” context, this chapter addresses the question of online misogyny and anti-feminism from a materialist perspective. The chapter includes a brief overview of the culture wars and the liberal consensus alongside a discussion of the spread, forms and potential impact of online misogyny. Misogyny appears in spectacular attacks and banal everyday repetitions of misogynistic tropes, in the manosphere and in alt-right spaces. The chapter posits that misogyny is the methodology of female subjugation and exploitation, and that its re-emergence in the current historical conjuncture is symptomatic of changes in the social-political and economic order. It therefore proposes an understanding of online misogyny as a question of distribution of material resources. Building on the work of Federici (Caliban and the Witch, Autonomedia, 2004), it is proposed that online misogyny has a function similar to that of witch hunting. While witch hunts were used to violently and systematically coerce women to conform with the requirements of the emerging industrial capitalism, online misogyny is using digital violence to prohibit women from participating in building the forthcoming technological future. Any resolution of the digital violence to which women are subjected is likely to necessitate radical ways of redistributing power and resources rather than mere policy changes by social media corporations.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University College DublinDublinIreland

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