by Thomas DeGloma
University of Chicago Press, 2023
Cloth: 978-0-226-82879-4 | Paper: 978-0-226-76513-6 | eISBN: 978-0-226-82880-0
Library of Congress Classification HM1111.D44 2023
Dewey Decimal Classification 302

A rich sociological analysis of how and why we use anonymity.
In recent years, anonymity has rocked the political and social landscape. There are countless examples: An anonymous whistleblower was at the heart of President Trump’s first impeachment, an anonymous group of hackers compromised more than 77 million Sony accounts, and best-selling author Elena Ferrante resolutely continued to hide her real name and identity. In Anonymous, Thomas DeGloma draws on a fascinating set of contemporary and historical cases to build a sociological theory that accounts for the many faces of anonymity. He asks a number of pressing questions about the social conditions and effects of anonymity. What is anonymity, and why, under various circumstances, do individuals act anonymously? How do individuals accomplish anonymity? How do they use it, and, in some situations, how is it imposed on them?
To answer these questions, DeGloma tackles anonymity thematically, dedicating each chapter to a distinct type of anonymous action, including ones he dubs protective, subversive, institutional, and ascribed. Ultimately, he argues that anonymity and pseudonymity are best understood as performances in which people obscure personal identities as they make meaning for various audiences. As they bring anonymity and pseudonymity to life, DeGloma shows, people work to define the world around them to achieve different goals and objectives.

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