Adventures in the public secret sphere: Police sovereign networks and communications warfare

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What are the contours of the contemporary public secret sphere? Some key manifestations can be found in the hybrids of network and sovereign power shaped by communications warfare. This article examines recent entanglements of social media and political dissent, specifically those sovereign networks designed to foment and prevent youth-oriented social movements. Using a number of recent examples (including the U.S. State Department organized Alliance of Youth Movements, the 2011 uprisings in Egypt, Kony 2012, U.S. police research conferences, and Anonymous), it argues that we are witnessing a convergence of sovereign and network powers, one that expresses new modes of control while setting the conditions for new forms of evaluation and antagonism. Finally, the article asks, how do we distinguish among these hybrids, between public secrecy and popular secrecy, among entangled secret networks?

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-20
Number of pages10
JournalCultural Studies - Critical Methodologies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


  • anonymous
  • police
  • secrecy
  • social movements
  • warfare


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