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Reviews (Beyond Technological Fundamentalism: Peruvian Hack Labs and “Inter-technological” Education) image

Review A

Reviewer: Henrique Parra

The article Beyond Technological Fundamentalism: Peruvian Hack Labs, “Inter-technological” Futures, and ICT4E in the Andes brings interesting contributions to the comprehension of the cultural context that influences the quality of any technological project local implementation. It make a good critic of the limits of the techno-determinism perspective that is the present in most of international corporate educational projects. To present its argument the article focus on the sociocultural and historical background of the teachers intercultural educational activism, to show how it influences the different uses of XO. If possible – it is not a condition/requisite to publish – I would suggest that the author describe with more detail some of the alternative practices developed by Escuela Puno. Besides the “Partnership Program” and the translations made, what are the other actions taken place? In order to publish the article a good english proofreading and grammar review is necessary.

Review B

Reviewer: Sophie Toupin

1. Is the subject matter relevant?

The subject matter is relevant both for the Journal of Peer Production and for the special issue on Shared Machine Shops: Beyond Local Prototyping and Manufacturing. The case study presented in this article highlights the ways in which local hack labs in the Peruvian Andes are countering culturally, educationally, socially and economically the dominant techno-fundamentalist approach embodied by the MIT One Laptop per Child Program, which has been endorsed by the Peruvian government.

2. Is the treatment of the subject matter intellectually interesting? Are there citations or bodies of literature you think are essential to which the author has not referred?

The content of this article is interesting and well documented, though is quite dense at times in terms of the level of details. The article would benefit from being edited (removing some less important details) to ease reading, the analysis could also be expanded.

Body of literature:

I would suggest adding to this article a discussion on the body of literature that pertains to a few concepts that have not been well elaborated on.

In the introduction the author speaks about the concept of “techno-fundamentalism” to understand the ICT4E deployment in Peru. It would be important for the author to elaborate more on the concept of techno-fundamentalism and its critics. A longer and less scattered discussion on how techno-fundamentalism has been conceived and construed in scholarly work over the years would be of great value.

In page 2, the author quickly define techno-fundamentalism when talking about de la Pena (2006) and Vaidhyanathan (2006), and state that hack labs have brought critical local lenses to the concept of techno-fundamentalism. The author starts a discussion on techno-fundamentalism viewed from American studies scholars (page 5). This would be a great place to expand on the discussion and it’s critic both from an American point of view and also from a Latin American point of view.

Two western examples come to mind, but I am sure more exist: In the Googlization of everything Siva Vaidhyanathan understands techno-fundamentalism as: “people who blindly accept what they are delivered — invisible risks and all — rather than thinking of how it could be otherwise; the idea that every problem can be solved by technological advances.” In the Art of the Motor (1995) Paul Virilio argues that the most pervasive technology as an ideology is techno-fundamentalism. For him technology has not only substituted religion, but it is also a form of colonialisation. The latter issue of colonialisation is touched on by the author when speaking about models of assimilation, but it could benefit being expanded.

Moreover, could the author try to locate techno-fundamentalism in the larger body of literature that pertains to technological determinism? Is “techno-fundamentalism” part of the larger domain of technological determinism? What’s the difference between techno-fundamentalism and techno-determinism? And why have we started to use this concept of techno-fundamentalism?


In reading the article, the reader wonders about the authors’ methodology. Therefore, I would suggest adding a methodology section. Have you interviewed people involved in the hack lab initiatives in Peru? Have you done an empirical study? Or are you rather quoting from interviews on radio or newspaper articles? This is not clear. You need to clarify your methodology. When for instance you make a reference to Neyder Achahuanco on page 6 and 7, did you interview him? If so, you need to add references such as: (Neyder Achahuanco, personal communication, date).

3. Are there any noticeable problems with the author’s means of validating assumptions or making judgments?

The article makes some claims and assertions that would benefit from substantiation.

4. Is the article well written?

Proof read for English syntax, grammar and typos is needed. Also, the article needs to be edited as it is at times convoluted and hard to follow , especially because of the level of details. But all and all it is well written.

5. Are there portions of the article that you recommend be shortened, excised or expanded?

As I said earlier, I would suggest removing some details from the article. The density of the details in article make it hard sometime to understand the very interesting arguments that are made.

6. Other comments

Title: I would avoid using acronyms in the title. Also: I would simplify the title. As it stands it tries to embody too many concepts and it is confusing.

Page 3: a missing word: “Activities that included co-organizing annual workshops [?] local…

Page 6: a missing word: “His Investments in FLOSS projects began when he [?] still in high school…”

Page 7: (top) this is an example of text (the framework of universalism) that could do with substantiation from academic literature.

Page 9: (last paragraph) this could do with substantiation from academic literature, media coverage or your interview data.

Page 10: a missing word: “…and who were central [?] the founding of Puno’s first hack lab collective…”

Page 10: problem with sentence: “like much like you’d find on the mobile trappings…”

Page 14: misspelled word: “btw” should read between

Please check references carefully and cross check between body of text and reference list; there is an inconsistency in dates with Dipesh Chakrabatry reference.

Also in the text, please adjust your reference when you name more than two books/references by author, otherwise it is hard to read. Ex: (Chan 2011 forthcoming) (Chan 2011 2014)

Review C

Reviewer: Peter Troxler

This paper describes how the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project was received in a small hackspace in Puno in southern Peru. This case is contrasted to the general thrust and implementation of the OLPC project which is seen as a case of “technological fundamentalism”. Parallels are drawn with the imposition of Spanish language and culture over indigenous languages and cultures in Latin America (and mainly Peru) in the earlier times and a strong indigenous language culture in Puno in the early 20th century.

1. Is the subject matter relevant?

The topic of the article is relevant to the special issue as it shows an example of appropriation of technology fostered by a SMS (a hackspace, in this case).

2. Is the treatment of the subject matter intellectually interesting? Are there citations or bodies of literature you think are essential to which the author has not referred?

Particularly the parallel between today’s technology appropriation and the production of language/literary selves for indigenous cultures/languages is very stimulating.

3. Are there any noticeable problems with the author’s means of validating assumptions or making judgments?

Depiction of engineers is pretty stereotype, not for other professionals (e.g. teachers are not depicted as “resistant to change by their very nature” — a stereotype engineers or policy makers might be inclined to use to explain slow take-up of the OLPC project).

4. Is the article well written?

The main problem with the article is its structure. Authors spend too much time on techno-fundamentalism, comparing it to earlier language/cultural imperialism (although that exact word is not used). On the last page they eventually conclude that an alternative way could be “zone[s] of cultural frictions” (a concept by Tsing 2004).
The case how the hacklab in Puno as a shared machine shop was instrumental as a place for the appropriation project could be made more strongly.

5. Are there portions of the article that you recommend be shortened, excised or expanded?

A method section is missing from the paper, authors should clarify how they obtained data for the case study (observation, participation, interviews, …)
The visual ethnography approach comparing photos from the OLPC campaign to photos from the hacklab is interesting and could be expanded or underlined by placing corresponding imagery close to each other


This is an interesting paper but it needs substantial re-organisation to present its valuable contribution more clearly and more effectively.