Experimenting with Novel Socio-Technical Configurations

Sabine Hielscher

Abstract

Grassroots digital fabrication workshops (such as FabLabs), and associated technologies (such as 3D printers), are attracting increasing attention as a potential source for addressing a variety of social and environmental challenges. Through an analysis of an in-depth case study on FabLabs, this paper aims to provide insights into the practices emerging in these workshops and realities of the relationship between its members and technologies that are currently under-researched. It does this by drawing upon the domestication literature that concerns itself with how people use, adapt and reject technologies and integrate them into their life. The paper examines the significance of the interactions between people and technologies in FabLabs and offers concluding reflections on the role of these relationships within broader social and environmental changes.

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