chapter  12
27 Pages

Digital image politics: the networked rhetoric of Anonymous

ByJason L. Jarvis Reply by Roger Stahl

This essay investigates the origins, structure, and tactics of activists that self-identify as Anonymous in order to answer the question: ‘What is Anonymous?’ The Guy Fawkes mask – the adopted symbol of Anonymous – has become so common at protests globally, that it has evolved into a ‘cultural meme’ (Mason 2011). Time Magazine named Anonymous one of their People of the Year in 2012 and one of the ‘Time 100’ complete with a photo of the Guy Fawkes mask on a nameless protester (Gellman 2012). Anonymous protest targets include the Church of Scientology, the Koch brothers, and the governments of Egypt, China, Israel, the United States, and Thailand, as well as Turkish Airlines worker protests. One of the few academics to pay serious attention to Anonymous, Gabriella Coleman, notes that Anonymous ‘is by nature and intent difficult to define: a name employed by various groups of hackers, technologists, activists, human rights advocates, and geeks’ (Coleman 2012c, 83).