A Nietzschean Analysis of Cybercrime and Deviance

Noble, Wayne (2020) A Nietzschean Analysis of Cybercrime and Deviance. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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The intention of this thesis is to examine various types of online deviance, such as ‘trolling’ and other forms of cyber bullying with special attention paid to the deviance which occurs on social networking sites and peer-2-peer file sharing websites.

The central claim of this thesis is that deviant behaviour can be influenced (encouraged, magnified) by ‘ressentiment’, which can reside within the individual. This ‘ressentiment’ forms part of a complex array of situational factors called ‘Flexible Causal Prediction’, whereby individuals may experience a particularly strong influence on behaviour but are not predetermined to act in certain ways. In this thesis the author uses Nietzsche’s philosophical notions of ‘Nihilism’, ‘Slave Morality’, ‘ressentiment’, ‘Will to Power’ and the ‘Übermensch’ to build an existential picture of deviant behaviour.

The author also draws upon the criminological/sociological notions of ‘Drift’, ‘Master Status’ and the ‘Techniques of Neutralisation’ (Sykes and Matza 1957) to introduce the new concepts of ‘Flexible Causal Prediction’ (previously referred to as ‘Causal Probability’); and the idea of ‘Situational Influences’. This undertaking is done with the intention of building upon the Meta-theoretical work of Owen (2007 – 2015), which seeks to build bridges between the social and physical sciences. The theory of ‘Flexible Causal Prediction’ is also applied to the deviant activities of internet trolling and anti-social behaviours to demonstrate the influences on behaviour.

Nietzsche’s philosophical notion of ‘Slave Morality’ and ‘ressentiment’ will also be extended when looking at some radical social justice movements, such as ‘AntiFa’, ‘Black LivesMatter’ and the ‘#MeToo’ movement to demonstrate the role that ‘ressentiment’ may play in behavioural choices. To assist this analysis SaulAlinksy’s 1971 book ‘Rules for Radicals’ will be referenced to demonstrate how the rules are based on a collectivist ‘herd’ mentality of slave ‘ressentiment’ and how these rules have themselves lead directly to deviant behaviour, online and offline and how a political correct ideology could be responsible for encouraging such behaviours.

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