Cover

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Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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p. xi

Improper Names is dedicated to all those who invented, borrowed, or stole a name in the service of a shared project or a common cause. Without them, this book would simply not exist. More concretely, I would like to thank a number of practitioners who agreed to be interviewed...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-28

In May–June 1995, a local community radio station in Rome aired a curious live broadcast experiment. Every Saturday night, for five consecutive weeks, all participants in the program vowed to go by the same name and be the same person. By introducing themselves...

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1. Ned Ludd, the Machine Breaker

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pp. 29-70

On March 11, 1811, a large demonstration of framework knitters gathered at the Nottingham marketplace. The knitters reclaimed higher wages and lamented the growing employment in the hosiery and lace trades of the region of new labor-saving machines...

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2. Allen Smithee, the Anti-Auteur

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pp. 71-96

If the Luddite texts amplified the symbolic power of machine breaking and brought a diversified set of demands within a common discursive space, the name Ned Ludd did not have an economic value in itself. Not only did the Luddite texts hardly fit the literary canon...

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3. Monty Cantsin, the Open Pop Star

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pp. 97-126

At the end of the previous chapter, I noted how Allen Smithee and Ned Ludd share, from a discursive standpoint, several features. First, the myths of origin surrounding both aliases are associated with accidents and breakdowns in laboring practices. Second, both...

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4. Luther Blissett, the Mythmaker

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pp. 127-164

As any crime story, this story begins with a murder. It is the evening of February 15, 1990, when the local police station of Porec, a sleepy Croatian village in the Istrian Peninsula, receives an anonymous phone call. The informant says that a male body is lying on the railroad tracks...

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5. Anonymous, the Transducer

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pp. 165-212

The improper names discussed so far in this book have been introduced to fulfill specific aesthetic, political, and economic functions. Whether completely fictional or inspired by existing individuals, they are the offspring of human imagination, language, and communication...

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Conclusion

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pp. 213-222

At the end of the previous chapter, I advanced the hypothesis that Anonymous may have an interior milieu, a memory of its previous individuations that functions as a source of information for future individuations. Following Gilbert Simondon, I also suggested...

Notes

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pp. 223-274

Index

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pp. 275-292