In November 2014 philosopher Alberto Toscano was interviewed by Gisle Selnes, professor in Comparative Literature at University of Bergen. This interview is an edited version of their conversation, originally published in Eurozine and first printed in the Norwegian magazine Vagant. Here he provides a history of the concept of "Fanaticism" and reflects on developments since the publication of his work Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea.
The author of Close to Home: A Materialist Analysis of Women’s Oppression and the forthcoming Dominating Others: Feminism and Racism after the War on Terror interrogates the new French state secularism.
On 7 June 2011, a 27-year-old school dropout called Hector Xavier Monsegur went offline for 24 hours. For most of us, this would indicate nothing more than a day spent enjoying the fresh air, but his closest online friends were immediately suspicious. They knew Monsegur only as “Sabu”, a fellow member of LulzSec, a splinter faction from the “hacktivist” group Anonymous. To them, being offline for a whole day was deeply odd behaviour.
Gabriella (Biella) Coleman, an anthropologist who has studied Anonymous for half a decade, describes what happened next. “They asked him to ‘open a box’ – hack into something. As proof.” Sabu did so and they took him back into their confidence.