Disruption Through Creativity: Promises and Perils of Globalized Open-Source Hardware Movements - Panel Proposal

TitleDisruption Through Creativity: Promises and Perils of Globalized Open-Source Hardware Movements - Panel Proposal
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Schrock, A. R.
Affiliation (1st Author)University of Southern California
Section or WGCommunication Policy and Technology
DateThurs 27 June
Slot CodeCPTT3a
Slot Code (Keyword)CPTT3a
Time of Session14:00-15:30
Session TitlePANEL Disruption Through (Co)Creativity: Promises and Perils of Globalized Open- Source Hardware Movements
Submission ID5235

Recent narratives in maker culture and open-sourced hardware have presented the possibility of large-scale disruption. Open-source, geographically distributed production is thought to have the potential to decentralize and radically shift traditionally top-down processes. Popular writers such as Chris Anderson have proclaimed that the introduction of distributed production practices is a path to economic revitalization. The dominant theme is that technologies destabilize existing markets, but also importantly, they are being used to connect mobile, remote and low-SES residents. Individuals are connected to global networks for collaborating and sharing files for personal fabrication, renewing questions of networked individualism and materialism. Finally, the rapid proliferation of over 500 worldwide hacker and maker spaces (HMSs) has elicited new questions of how these grassroots collectives organize, collaborate, and imagine community on a global scale. Predictions of radical change seem uncertain against this complex backdrop, particularly when open-source hardware movements are diffuse and largely unmapped. The current panel illuminates areas of investigation by including scholars, activists and practitioners in a discussion of the contexts of open-source production practices, and how these practices can influence global flows. Encounters with material goods and production processes serve as an inroad to the discussion. Hardware hacking and tinkering is a user-driven innovation process that creates prototypes with the potential to influence policy decisions, such as in the case of grassroots radiation monitoring in Japan by Safecast. Rural communities, often ignored in a world focused on urban expansion, present a novel context to examine the integration of digital manufacturing technologies with existing community life. The cohesiveness of individuals coalescing around open-source practices can be considered at both the organizational and global levels. HMS members construct their organizations around open-access tinkering, employing a decentralized model built around democracy and “do-ocracy,” referring to the exercising of deliberation and agency, respectively. Individuals in these spaces connect during synchronous international “hack-a-thons” on crucial issues, demonstrating a hacker culture norm of “awareness of the global other.” Together, these papers present a picture of the evolving material and organizational practices that empower individuals through a resurgent interest in re-imagining production in a global age.
Chair and participant: Jeremy Hunsinger.
Participants: Andrew Schrock, Sarah Griffiths, Maxigas, Denisa Kera.

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