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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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Section I. Histories Introduction (Andrew R. Schrock)

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Section I. Histories Introduction

ANDREW R. SCHROCK

Chapman University

“Studying the past,” suggested John Durham Peters, is “a problem of communication.” Hacking and making present just such a challenge. They have had ephemeral histories, passed down through word-of-mouth, textfiles, and guides. Hacker culture has often prided itself on technological skills and obscurity. Researching histories of hackers often entails unearthing communications of a particular group or publication. The maker movement, although relatively recent, has seen more significant financial support and investment. Both hacking and making presents particular, although quite different, challenges for understanding how identities, practices, and media are developed. We have set aside a section for histories to better understand the historical contours of these movements.

The Maker Movement has prided itself on its ability to reform education and improve work conditions through hands-on education. Philip Nichols and Debora Lui suggest that this claim tenuously relies on reconciling two vastly different historical perspectives on education. They describe how Maker Media, Inc. situates making as an “ethos” that echoes previous waves of experiential learning, particularly that of John Dewey. The Maker Movement embraces quite different—even conflicting—outcomes: experiential education, STEM-based learning, and entry into the world of entrepreneurship. Making is thus revealed to be an extension of historical tensions around education and economics that may even work counter to their emancipatory goals. “Without an intentional parsing of these conflicts,” write Nichols and Lui, “making risks...

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