A Radical Approach to Hacker Culture and Crime

288 pages

7 tables and 1 b/w figure

November, 2016

ISBN: 9781479869718



Add to Cart Available: 10/28/2016

Also available in



Part of the Alternative Criminology series


Kevin F. Steinmetz is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work at Kansas State University.

All books by Kevin F. Steinmetz

Inside the life of a hacker and cybercrime culture. 
Public discourse, from pop culture to political rhetoric, portrays hackers as deceptive, digital villains. But what do we actually know about them?             

In Hacked, Kevin F. Steinmetz explores what it means to be a hacker and the nuances of hacker culture. Through extensive interviews with hackers, observations of hacker communities, and analyses of hacker cultural products, Steinmetz demystifies the figure of the hacker and situates the practice of hacking within the larger political and economic structures of capitalism, crime, and control.This captivating book challenges many of the common narratives of hackers, suggesting that not all forms of hacking are criminal and, contrary to popular opinion, the broader hacker community actually plays a vital role in our information economy. Hacked thus explores how governments, corporations, and other institutions attempt to manage hacker culture through the creation of ideologies and laws that protect powerful economic interests. Not content to simply critique the situation, Steinmetz ends his work by providing actionable policy recommendations that aim to redirect the focus from the individual to corporations, governments, and broader social issues.            

A compelling study, Hacked helps us understand not just the figure of the hacker, but also digital crime and social control in our high-tech society.


  • "A sophisticated yet clearly written investigation into hacker activities through the lens of radical criminology."


  • "While mainstream and public perceptions of hackers are filled with stereotypes, what Steinmetz does with great care and excellence in [Hacked] is surface the human voices of hacker culture in an effort to comprehend their perspectives and motivations."

    STARRED Library Journal

  • “Steinmetz provides a provocative approach to understanding hacking, hackers, and the place of hackers within the larger U.S. economy through this framework, and he gives ample support for his approach that other researchers could easily use to further our empirical understanding of hacker as identity and hacking as practice.”

    American Journal of Sociology

  • “Ultimately, Hacked will hack open the true hacker spirit, and will compel its readers to widen, unshape and reshape their structural understandings of hacking and Internet crime in contemporary times.”

    International Journal of Law and Information

  • “With Hacked, Kevin Steinmetz has produced a skillful and original study that coaxes criminology onto new, and increasingly important, social terrain…[For] anyone interested not only in what Steinmetz calls ‘technocrime’ (Steinmetz and Nobles, 2017), but also in how the Marxist analysis of crime and crime control can be revitalized in the context of 21st-century information capitalism, Hacked is highly recommended.”

    British Journal of Criminology

  • “A highly original, insightful, carefully researched and elegantly written study of hacker culture. Through an impressive synthesis of insights from critical and cultural criminology, classical and contemporary social theory, politics and political economy, Kevin Steinmetz delivers a new and provocative understanding of hacking and its place in contemporary information capitalism. A ‘must read’ for students and scholars of crime, new media and digital culture.”

    —Majid Yar, author of Cybercrime and Society

  • "One of the only books in criminology that takes seriously the intersection of hacker culture and political economy. Hacked is theoretically insightful, analytically rich, and well written."

    —Victor E. Kappeler, co-author of The Mythology of Crime and Criminal Justice