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Social Innovation, Democracy and Makerspaces

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  • Adrian Smith

    () (University of Sussex - Science and Technology Policy Research Unit (SPRU))

Abstract

Social innovation requires a transformation in innovation practices. These transformations should be democratic. At least that is the hypothesis in this paper. Makerspaces are studied as potential sites for democratising innovation activity. Makerspaces are community-based workshops where people access the tools, skills and collaborators to design and make almost anything they wish. Makerspaces are also networked spaces for reflection and debate over design and making in society. But they are many other things too, including a place for personal recreation, entrepreneurship, and education - features of increasing interest to institutions. Makerspaces are pulled and pushed in different directions. An open innovation agenda seeks to insert makerspace creativity into global manufacturing circuits under business as usual. Others see in makerspaces an inchoate infrastructure for a commons-based, sustainable and redistributed manufacturing economy. Activists anticipate new relations in material culture and political economy. Makerspaces are thus socially innovative and not socially innovative at the same time: a site of struggle over issues of profound social significance, and hence an example of innovation democracy in action.

Suggested Citation

  • Adrian Smith, 2017. "Social Innovation, Democracy and Makerspaces," SPRU Working Paper Series 2017-10, SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:sru:ssewps:2017-10
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    File URL: https://www.sussex.ac.uk/webteam/gateway/file.php?name=2017-10-swps-smith.pdf&site=25
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    1. World Commission on Environment and Development,, 1987. "Our Common Future," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780192820808.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bonno Pel & Wouter Achten & Ahmed Z. Khan & Thomas Bauler, 2018. "Reconfiguring which systems? An interdisciplinary reflection on units of analysis in the Circular Economy transition," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/276428, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. Halbinger, Maria A., 2018. "The role of makerspaces in supporting consumer innovation and diffusion: An empirical analysis," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(10), pages 2028-2036.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social innovation; democracy; makerspaces; digital fabrication; commons; critical theory; technology;

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