Liberatory Technologies for Whom? Exploring a New Generation of Makerspaces Defined by Institutional Encounters
Journal of Peer Production, Issue 12: Makerspaces and Institutions
13 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2018 Last revised: 7 Feb 2020
Date Written: July 9, 2018
Makerspaces are subjects in a plurality of institutional advances and developments. What kinds of hybrid arrangements emerge through these encounters, and what becomes of the occupied factories for peer production theory?
Makerspaces are subjects in a plurality of institutional advances and developments, catching the imaginations of a wide variety of organisations and other actors drawn to a buzz of enticing possibilities. Depending upon the nature of the encounter, makerspaces are becoming cradles for entrepreneurship, innovators in education, nodes in open hardware networks, studios for digital artistry, ciphers for social change, prototyping shops for manufacturers, remanufacturing hubs in circular economies, twenty-first century libraries, emblematic anticipations of commons-based, peer-produced post capitalism, workshops for hacking technology and its politics, laboratories for smart urbanism, galleries for hands-on explorations in material culture... not forgetting, of course, spaces for simply having fun.
What kinds of hybrid arrangements emerge through these encounters, and what becomes of the occupied factories for peer production theory? How are institutions reshaping aspirations for autonomous, even democratic, fabrication and experimentation – aspirations that were – and are – important parts of makerspace narratives? And what do these encounters mean for institutions, whether in education, culture, business, development or some other sphere; how are they too evolving through their exposure to grassroots and community making practices?
This introduction to Journal of Peer Production Special Issue 12: Makerspaces and Institutions discusses different methods for exploring these institutional developments in all their complexity through the launch of 13 research articles (each of which have been peer reviewed and revised through the Journal’s particularly transparent process, which makes all review steps public) and 7 practitioner contributions from key leaders working in the field.
Keywords: Makerspaces, Hackspaces, Fablabs, Making, Hacking, Institutions, Organizational Change, Grassroots, STS
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