The Journal of Peer Production - New perspectives on the implications of peer production for social change New perspectives on the implications of peer production for social change
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JoPP Signal:
13.5/15
Title: Technology Networks for Socially Useful Production
Author/s: Adrian Smith
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Abstract:
Though largely forgotten now, Technology Networks were community-based prototyping workshops supported by the Greater London Council from 1983 until 1986. They emerged out of a movement for socially useful production. Recalling the radical roots and conflicted experiences of the workshops brings to the fore issues still relevant today: tensions between prototyping activities for business development as distinct from more critical technological agit prop for political mobilisation; working at equitable relations between codified, formal expertise versus tacit, experiential skills; and the influences of broader political and economic changes and wider movements for alternatives. After careful historical contextualisation, lessons are drawn for workshops today, but which will inevitably play out differently, hopefully after learning from the past.

Keywords:
socially useful production, Lucas Plan, human-centred technology, industrial democracy, Technology Networks, Fab Labs

JoPP Signal:
13.5/15
Title: The Story of MIT-Fablab Norway: Community Embedding of Peer Production
Author/s: Cindy Kohtala and Camille Bosqué
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Abstract:
MIT-Fablab Norway was one of the first Fab Labs ever established, in northern Norway in 2002. Despite this auspicious beginning to a network that is rapidly growing, surprisingly little has been written about the genesis of the network or the Fab Lab itself. We therefore aim to contribute to this knowledge gap with a narrative account of our independent ethnographic research visits to the Lab. We combine our researcher perspectives, which are informed by, on the one hand, Aesthetics and a phenomenological understanding and, on the other, Science and Technology Studies, with Design Research bridging both. Our account aims to richly describe the Lab’s unique profile in the MIT Fab Lab network as a socially shaped entity and product of a particular time and place. Most salient in this narrative is the role of its charismatic founder, whose stories and metaphors become vehicles by which we come to understand how a Fab Lab forms its own identity, balancing the relationships with local stakeholders against those with the Fab Lab network; how it promotes certain principles and values of peer production; and how it represents itself to both maker insiders and outsiders. While situated and particular to this Lab, our interpretations may have implications for the trajectories of other Fab Labs and makerspaces, as well as our understanding of peer production as a new paradigm.

Keywords:
Fab Lab, ethnography, MIT-Fablab Norway, material peer production

JoPP Signal:
14/15
Title: Sharing is Sparing: Open Knowledge Sharing in Fab Labs
Author/s: Patricia Wolf, Peter Troxler, Pierre-Yves Kocher, Julie Harboe and Urs Gaudenz
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Abstract:
The commitment of the Fab Lab community to participate in processes of commons-based knowledge production thus also includes global knowledge sharing. For sharing back into the global commons, new knowledge needs however to be documented in a way that allows to share it by the means of information and communication technologies. So far, there are no empirical studies that provide insights into the question whether and how knowledge is indeed shared globally in the Fab Lab community, and how the above mentioned challenges are experienced and dealt with by the Fab Lab members. This paper reports an empirical study that aimed at closing this gap based. The study was based on qualitative interviews with sixteen Fab Lab users. In these interviews, the responded seventeen projects that were analysed as case studies. The case studies revealed, that knowledge sharing is not impeded by the barriers discussed elsewhere in literature such as motivational or technological impediments. Nevertheless, the cases showed that global open knowledge sharing was far from the norm, and sharing remains mainly local and personal.

Keywords:
FabLabs, open knowledge sharing, commons-based knowledge production

JoPP Signal:
14/15
Title: Feminist Hackerspaces: The Synthesis of Feminist and Hacker Cultures
Author/s: Sophie Toupin
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Abstract:
This paper examines the recent emergence of feminist hackerspaces in the United States. As little data exist on this practice, this paper is based on interviews undertaken with intersectional feminist, queer and trans hackers who have been involved in the development of feminist hackerspaces. Through this paper, I demonstrate that for feminist hackers, makers and geeks the open space concept enshrined as the core of the standard hackerspace model is largely undesirable. They envisage a different role for their hackerspaces, one in which boundaries offer both safety and a platform for political resistance. In doing so the trajectories of hacker and feminist culture are brought together.

Keywords:
feminism, hackers, hackerspaces, diversity, inclusion, separatism, intersectionality, LGBTQ, technology, techno-feminism

JoPP Signal:
15/15
Title: Beyond Technological Fundamentalism: Peruvian Hack Labs and “Inter-technological” Education
Author/s: Anita Say Chan
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Abstract:
Channeling the promise of global interconnection, and framed as the mark of contemporary optimization, “the digital” has come to represent the path to the future for diverse nations and populations alike. In the midst of its accelerating pursuit by national governments, however, little has been made of the “technofundamentalist” underpinnings that mobilize digitality’s global spread, and that are especially expressed through state-launched and nationally-scaled ICT4E (ICT for Education) programs. This paper attends to developments surrounding urban and rural hack lab spaces in Peru, that distinctly engage materialities of nature, technology, and information to reorient ICT4E frameworks and disrupt dominant logics of the digital. By fostering collaborations between Latin American free software activists across a range of rural and urban sites, and between transnational media producers and indigenous communities, such networks work to develop distinct geneaologies of the digital, and create possibilities for forging new inter-cultural futures through interfacing with multiple local pasts.

Keywords:
Hack Labs, One Laptop Per Child, OLPC, ICT for Education

JoPP Signal:
13.5/15
Title: Becoming Makers: Hackerspace Member Habits, Values, and Identities
Author/s: Austin Toombs, Shaowen Bardzell and Jeffrey Bardzell
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Abstract:
This paper explores factors that lead to individuals’ adoption of the maker identity reproduced by a small-town hackerspace. This paper presents the findings of a 15-month ethnography of the hackerspace and a series of targeted interviews focused on the self-made tools of that hackerspace. These findings indicate that the formation of our subjects’ maker identities are shaped heavily by the individual’s ability to: use and extend tools; adopt an adhocist attitude toward projects and materials; and engage with the broader maker community. We also consider how a maker identity manifests itself in both making processes and visual stylizations of projects. We present and explore the formative roles of materials, the significances of imprecise tactics such as “futzing,” and the role of the hackerspace as a special place where “normal” attitudes and practices are suspended in favor of an alternative set.

Keywords:
self-made tools, ad hoc, improvisation, hacker, hackerspace, maker, makerspace, homebrew, DIY

JoPP Signal:
15/15
Title: Shared Machine Shops as Real-life Laboratories
Author/s: Sascha Dickel, Jan-Peter Ferdinand and Ulrich Petschow
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Abstract:
Our paper applies the concept of real-life experiments and real-life laboratories to shared machine shops. These workshops provide niches for experimental learning that expand the scope of established modes of research and development which are predominantly embedded in professional contexts of industry or science. Shared machine shops provide infrastructures for novel forms of collaboration as well as self-selected participation of heterogeneous actors. We will illustrate our concept with two examples of innovations in shared machined shops: low-cost-prosthesis and open hardware 3D printers. We will show that shared machine shops embody significant properties of a reflexive innovation society, and can be considered as real experiments in themselves in which new forms of inclusion, collaboration, and openness are tested.

Keywords:
shared machine shops, real-life laboratories, niche management, distributed Innovation, peer production, experiments,