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Announcement: 4S panel “From Hobby to Science Work: the Culture & Politics of Professionalized Maker Culture”

We invite submissions to a panel we put together on the professionalization of Maker culture, as part of the annual 4S Meeting in San Diego, Oct 9-12, 2013. Details how to submit are below:

From Hobby to Science Work: The Culture & Politics of Professionalized Maker Culture 

Current Participants: Carl DiSalvo, Laura Forlano, Silvia Lindtner, Thomas Lodato
Hacker/maker culture is often associated with a DIY (do it yourself) ethos and Internet counterculture — in distinction from professionalized fields such as design, scientific research, or engineering. However, in recent years, hacker cultures and professionalized fields have been brought together through the efforts such as hackerspaces, which function as collocated laboratories for citizen science engagements, new product development, or batch-manufacturing.  Events such as hackathons, start-up weekends, and accelerators allow DIY makers to move beyond a hobbyist activity and transform ideas into tangible products by exploiting an existing infrastructure of venture capital funding, corporate support and manufacturing labor. In addition to corporations, state organizations such as DARPA and governments in Asia have begun participate in these transformations in order to provide financial support for maker and DIY efforts with the goal of triggering new forms of innovation for their nations. The purpose of this panel is to bring together research that examines the conditions and issues of the transformation of hacker/maker culture from DIY endeavors to increasingly professionalized and purportedly economically-viable activities, and engages with the culture and politics of such professionalization process of the hobbyist Maker movement. We will examine how DIY maker production appropriates and remakes dominant narratives of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship to render and for what purposes. We ask questions such as: Who is excluded and how do local manifestations of the broader movement vary? How can analytical and methodological tools from STS inform the study of interdisciplinary maker worlds that aspire to bring together science, technology and society in new ways? What digital and other material artifacts are produced along the way, where and how do they travel, and which populations are implicated in their production? We envision this panel will contribute to ongoing concerns in Digital STS and innovation studies.

We are soliciting participation in this panel (or possibly, a series of panels). If you are interested in contributing please send an email with a brief paper description to cdisalvo@gatech.edu by March 1st.