Infrastructural action in Vietnam: Inverting the techno-politics of hacking in the global South

Nguyen, Lilly U
New Media & Society

This article introduces the concept of infrastructural action and argues that it serves as a useful analytical tool to understand hacking in the global South. Infrastructural action consists of the delicate ways in which people establish socio-technical connections when located along the margins of global modernity. In Vietnam, hacking is situated within the illicit circulations of global commodities. These circulations form pervasive infrastructures for clandestine importation of “hand-carried” goods into the country. Embedded within these circulations, hacking consists of a strategy for breaking into global techno-culture rather than breaking out of socio-technical limitations. By contextualizing hacking within the larger dilemmas of distance within global integration, this notion of infrastructural action serves as a critique of the techno-political ethos of transgression typical of hacking discourses in the global North.