Aesthetics, performativity and resistance in the narratives of a computer programming community

Case, Peter, and Piñeiro, Erik (2006) Aesthetics, performativity and resistance in the narratives of a computer programming community. Human Relations, 59 (6). pp. 753-782.

[img] PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website:


This article reports on an empirical study of a computer programmer community, focusing on online exchanges in which participants discuss the aesthetics of coding. Naturalistic data were collected during a 12-month period of non-participant observation of the software community in question. The authors estimate that approximately 200 participants are represented in the main dataset. Narrative data are presented under two interpretative rubrics: 'programmer performatives' and 'commercial performativity'. We seek to demonstrate that there is the online equivalent of a great deal of intricate 'face work' that programmers do in their narrative exchanges. In expressing and conforming to a 'hacker ethic', programmer narratives simultaneously evince technical, ethical and aesthetic motives. There is frequent articulation of resistance and subversive intent expressed toward representatives of employers and employing organizations. Software engineers are acutely aware of the facets of organizational control and demands for performativity that they feel compromise their artistic endeavours. Programmers make sense of their condition ideologically both through their practical pursuit of coding ideals and by espousing a hacker ethic that legitimates their passionate engagement with coding tasks.

Item ID: 20322
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1741-282X
Keywords: aesthetics, computer programmers, cyberculture, narrative, performativity, resistance
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2013 22:46
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1503 Business and Management > 150311 Organisational Behaviour @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services @ 100%
Downloads: Total: 2
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page