Characterizing Hacking: Mundane Engagement in US Hacker and Makerspaces*

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Sarah Rachael Davies

The rise of a “maker movement,” located in hacker and makerspaces and involving the democratization of technologies of production and support of grassroots innovation, is receiving increasing attention from science and technology studies (STS) scholarship. This article explores how hacking is characterized by users of hacker and makerspaces and relates this to broader discussion of the maker movement as, for instance, promoting innovation, engaged in countercultural critique, or as accessible to anyone. Based on an interview study of users of twelve hacker and makerspaces across the United States, it argues that for these users, hacking is not about politics, commercial innovation, or critique. Rather, it is understood as a lifestyle one subscribes to, a meaningful leisure activity, or as providing access to a welcoming and close-knit community. Contrary to expectations of the maker movement as heralding social change, the benefits of hacking were viewed as personal rather than political, economic, or social; similarly, democratization of technology was experienced as rather incidental to most hackers’ and makers’ experiences.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScience, Technology & Human Values
Volume43
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)171-197
Number of pages27
ISSN0162-2439
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - hacking, maker movement, hackerspaces, innovation, leisure, community

ID: 188448585