Do-it-yourself biology andelectronic waste hacking: A politics of demonstration in precarious times
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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In recent years, there has been an explosion of do it yourself, maker and hacker spaces in Europe. Through makers and do-it-yourself initiatives, ‘hacking’ is moving into the everyday life of citizens. This article explores the collective and political nature of those hacks by reporting on empirical work on electronic waste and do-it-yourself biology hacking. Using Dewey’s experimental approach to politics, we analyse hacks as ‘inquiry’ to see how they serve to articulate public and political action. We argue that do-it-yourself and makers’ hacks are technical and political demonstrations. What do-it-yourself and makers’ hacks ultimately demonstrate is that things can be done otherwise and that ‘you’ can also do it. In this sense, they have a potential viral effect. The final part of the article explores some potential shortcomings of such politics of demonstration.