Making cultures : politics of inclusion, accessibility, and empowerment at the margins of the maker movement

Foster, Ellen Kathleen
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Nieusma, Dean
Akera, Atsushi
Campbell, Nancy D. (Nancy Dianne), 1963-
DiSalvo, Carl, 1971-
Kinchy, Abby J.
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Science and technology studies
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By examining the margins, I trouble the Maker Movement label, the people who hold sway over this categorization, and consider both proponents as well as dissenters from within and without its bounds. I question claims that it's focus is beholden to re-industrialization and the fostering of a cadre of globally competitive engineers. I then focus on characterizing the root mechanisms behind groups trying to make visible the oft implicit barriers facing certain marginalized groups in the technological landscape.
While it stands to be seen if these interests or shifts are permanent and what impact they might have, if the Maker Movement is poised to make any kind of change in the realms of democratizing technology innovation and production, re-industrializing the US, and changing educational practices, STS will be a helpful touchstone for critically-engaging and informing such transformations. In highlighting the sociocultural underpinnings of makerspaces and hackerspaces, STS scholarship will bring a reconstructivist edge to the maker landscape.
Historically an elite, formally-trained, and Western-centric population has dominated technology development, creating an inequity in who decides what roles technoscience will play, and how it will affect different publics. More recently, tactics to counter observed inequities have taken the form of citizen science, “civic science,” science shops, science for the people, as well as Do It Yourself (DIY) movements such as the “Maker Movement.” This dissertation joins the growing body of scholarly explorations into the development of such technoscientific practices and analyses of whether and how they open up the stage for “technological citizenship.”
August 2017
School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Dept. of Science and Technology Studies
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
Rensselaer Theses and Dissertations Online Collection
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