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Making Our World

The Hacker and Maker Movements in Context

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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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15. The Paradox of Maker Movement in China (Xin Gu)

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15. The Paradox of Maker Movement in China

XIN GU

Monash University

A 3D printer became the focus of the 2015 Cultural Expo in Shenzhen—but more interesting was the story behind it. A few young makers set up a street stall near the Huaqiangbei Market, China’s biggest electronic market, trying to sell the idea of 3D printers to the public. One of the onlookers was a woman whose job was as an “ear cleaner”. She asked whether 3D printers could help making mini torch to put on her finger so that she could get a better look inside her client’s ears. A few days later, she got her very own mini torches and she was overjoyed, so were the makers who were eager to join the league of creative entrepreneurs.1 Stories like these provide convincing narratives of the democratising power of the Maker movement in China—a convergence of young university graduates turned creative entrepreneurs and peasant workers using high-tech.

China’s first hacker space in Shanghai, Xinchejian (“new factory unit”) does not immediately strike one as home-grown Chinese. David Li (Taiwanese educated in the US), Min Lin Hsieh and Ricky Ng-Adam (foreign expats) founded it. It was setup in 2010 in a co-working space Xindanwei (“new work space”) a co-working space run by entrepreneurs Liu Yan and Chen Xu. Both were educated abroad—Liu in Holland and Chen in UK. Chen Xu has also...

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