[New risks of addiction for new populations: the example of hackers]

Ann Med Interne (Paris). 2000 Oct:151 Suppl B:B49-52.
[Article in French]


Our purpose was to examine recent social and technical habits related to high-tech environments. Our goal was to show that the prevention of risk behaviors due to training in data processing, requires an interdisciplinary approach where medical anthropology could benefit from and exchange of complementary information sources (particularly from psychiatrics and psychoanalysis). We used this approach to search for solutions regarding new kinds of addiction. When identifying pathological conditions and proposing appropriate care, these solutions must take into consideration the progressive loss of human nature in data processing environments and the very important and highly sophisticated relationship established between the human being and the computer. We looked at the hacker population as a modern tribe and marginal group. Our analysis led to a better understanding of this kind of artificial culture, sometimes called a "high-tech" or "cyber" culture. The hacker population is integrating new rituals, languages and special rhythms which induce addictions. We show how high-tech environments operating in e-time and e-life induce addictions. This work illustrates a classical anthropological approach to the question (ethnological fields, interviews, literature analysis). The major challenge is to explain how high-tech environments present high risks for dependency in the hacker population and other, unwarned, computer (ab)users.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Behavior, Addictive* / diagnosis
  • Behavior, Addictive* / psychology
  • Computer Security*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Microcomputers*
  • Risk-Taking
  • Time Factors