1: “Don’t Mind Me”: The History of Lurkers from Lerkere to Thriller

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This chapter historicizes the myth of the lurker, tracing its roots from real-world abuser to surreptitious online reader by contextualizing a range of cultural texts from 14th-century poems to 21st-century memes. Lurking is perceived as malignant when its motives resist anthropocentrism, imperialism, and capitalism. This chapter sets out to problematize the negative connotations of lurking and illuminates the ways that lurking can be an active, participatory, and valuable act.

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