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Making Our World

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.

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14. Hacking as a Way of Life: “Makers” at the Margins of Global Digital Culture (Nicholas Balaisis)


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14. Hacking as a Way of Life: “Makers” at the Margins of Global Digital Culture


University of Waterloo

“I am a knowledge worker … I live on my wits” (Charles Leadbeater)

“Hay que inventar!” (“One must invent!”)

Colloquial expression in Cuba.

The emergence of hacking and making into popular vernacular must be understood within the broader economic context of late modernity and the shift from a Fordist industrial economy to a post-Fordist, digital economy. As a number of scholars have outlined, post-Fordism is constituted by (among other things), more flexible or precarious employment, shorter and more varied career cycles, less division of labour hierarchies and union support, and more personal stake in financial security (Bell, 1973; Kasvio, 2001; Masuda, 1990). In short, there are fewer “jobs for life” or “cradle to grave” employment with workers changing careers more frequently and often cobbling together multiple contracts to make do (Reich, 1992). The conditions for success within this new economic climate are often linked to characteristic such as creativity, flexibility and an entrepreneurial spirit: a kind of “career hacking.” This is the overarching theme of Charles Leadbeater’s book on work in the information society, Living on Thin Air: the New Economy. Leadbeater argues that the worker in post-Fordism will succeed if they are able to be creative, innovative and entrepreneurial. Creativity and “self-making” (and re-making) are thus central to the new worker...

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