Research talk by Dr. Silvia Lindtner

Making subjectivities: How China’s DIY makers remake industrial production, innovation & the self

Date & time: 29 July, 11:30–  12:30 PM

Venue: CNM Meeting room, AS6, #03-33, 11 Computing Drive, Singapore 117416

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About the talk

In this talk, Lindtner shows how the visions and practices of DIY (do it yourself) making are taken up in China. She analyzes, in particular, how DIY maker ideals of open-ness, resourcefulness and individual empowerment are formulated in relation to China’s political discourse of building a creative society. To demonstrate, she draws from my ethnographic research that traces the set-up of China’s first hackerspace to the proliferation of making through a growing number of hackerspaces, events, and partnerships between makers and manufacturers. China’s makers are driven to remake what creativity and industrial production mean today, both exploiting and challenging political rhetoric. By setting up hackerspaces, designing open technologies and starting up businesses, they enable alternative subject positions, for themselves and others. The contribution of this work is three-fold. First, it fills a gap in prior research by providing an account of a culture of technology production. Second, it proposes the analytical lens of “making subjectivities” to open up the concept of the online identity or netizen to include the use and design of technologies as central to crafting heterogeneous positions in society. Third, it demonstrates that makers alter the system from within, contributing to our understanding of the relationship between technology use, production, society, and the state.

About the speaker

Silvia Lindtner is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Irvine and at Fudan University. She studies DIY maker culture, with a focus on its intersections with manufacturing and entrepreneurialism in China, expressions of selfhood and collectivity, and globalized processes of labor. She brings together ethnographic methods with design methods, actively participating in the technology production she studies. Her interdisciplinary work contributes to and draws from STS, information and communication studies, digital media studies, design, and cultural anthropology.

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