The Hacker and Maker Movements in Context
Edited By Jeremy Hunsinger and Andrew Schrock
Making Our World: The Hacker and Maker Movements in Context describes and situates the political, historical, national, and organizational elements of hacking and making. Hackers and makers are often mythologized, leading to people misunderstanding them as folk heroes for the modern age. In response, this book describes and critiques these movements from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives to help readers appreciate their worldwide scope and highly localized interpretations. Making Our World is essential reading for students and scholars of technology and society, particularly those interested in social movements and DIY cultures.
Afterword: Hackers and Makers Are Ordinary (Andrew R. Schrock)
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Afterword: Hackers and Makers Are Ordinary
ANDREW R. SCHROCK
Raymond Williams wrote “Culture is Ordinary” in 1958, a sensitive analysis of everyday life that was influential on the then-nascent field of cultural studies, among others. In this chapter, instead of culture, I draw on Williams’ notion of “ordinary.” Ordinariness—the everyday, unexceptional, and mundane—is a useful hermeneutic to view collective action and identity in the context of hacking and making. This “ordinary” framing is a response to two types of presumed exceptionality. Critical scholars praise activism in hacking (Maxigas, 2012), while others look to hacking and making as the key to economic profitability (Anderson, 2012). Missing from these discussions is a more grounded reading of how those identifying as hackers and makers come to understand shared histories, organizing, and politics—the very themes of this book.
Hacking and making are each an odd bundling of concepts that can appear contradictory. For example, Etsy provides a platform for makers to sell crafts and obtain mutual support, even as they push them into more precarious labor (Close, 2014). Our broader argument in this book is that, while contradictions sensitize us to key problematics, we should start by unpacking the cultural logics and material arrangements that drive them. For example, hackers often tout that “anyone can be a hacker.” While this claim is dubious—participation is limited by technical inclinations, skills, and exclusionary practices—the...
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