The Maker Culture

The maker culture is not about the STUFF we can make, it’s about the MEANING we can make.

The Maker Culture is a contemporary culture or subculture representing a technology based extension of DIY culture that intersects with hacker culture and revels in the creation of new devices as well as tinkering with existing ones. Maker culture emphasizes learning-by-doing in a social environment.

Maker culture accentuates informal, networked, peer-led, and shared learning motivated by fun and self-fulfillment. Maker culture encourages novel applications of technologies, and the exploration of intersections between traditionally separate domains and ways of working including electronics, robotics, 3-D printing, and the use of CNC tools, as well as more traditional activities such as metalworking, woodworking, and, mainly, its predecessor, the traditional arts and crafts. The rise of this making subculture is rooted in the phenomenon of hackerspaces emerging themselves from the counterculture movement.

Community interaction and knowledge sharing are often mediated through networked technologies, with websites and social media tools forming the basis of knowledge repositories and a central channel for information sharing and exchange of ideas, and focused through social meetings in shared hackerspaces

Some say that the maker culture is a reaction to the de-valuing of physical exploration and the growing sense of disconnection with the physical world in modern cities.

Many products produced by the maker communities have a focus on health (food),
sustainable development, environmentalism, local culture and can from that point of view also be seen as a negative response to disposables, globalized mass production, the power of chain stores, multinationals and consumerism.

Maker culture has its roots in the fifties and sixties. Magazine like The Whole Earth Catalog offered something very precious to the non-professional practitioners: the access to tools and information.

The maker culture is a social movement with an artisan spirit in which the methods of digital fabrication – previously the exclusive domain of institutions – have become accessible at a personal scale, following a logical and economic progression similar to the transition from minicomputers to personal computers in the microcomputer revolution of the 1970’s.

 

In the end maker culture isn’t about robots or 3D printing or STEM or even building things. It’s a new Renaissance, post-industrial, that is led by each person and every person being fluent with the idea of meaning making, ethics, politics of technology, and conscientization.

 

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