06 SES 11 B, Developing Research Approaches for an Era of Digitalisation
In so called FabLabs and Makerspaces, various groups of people are producing, repairing and experimenting in a self-organized manner with a wide variety of tools. The playful-experimental handling of analogue and digital technologies as well as the exploratory procedure in these openly designed spaces holds great potential from an educational point of view (Schelhowe 2013). FabLabs and Makerspaces can thus be characterized as current media cultural phenomena of the post-digital society (Cramer 2014), which has its roots among in the "do-it-yourself" (DIY) movement. Aside from various forms of socio-material practices of tinkering, the playful handling of artefacts in these contexts can be understood as a kind of of cultural hacking, i.e. a creative mode of interventionist critique of societal phenomenons in terms of a „democratization of innovation“ (Walter-Herrmann & Büching 2013, S. 14). It is decisive that these practices are more than just "crafting": Numerous labs and spaces are explicitly socio-critical and place the ethical dimension of dealing with technology in the foreground.
Against this background the presentation argues from an educational point of view and investigates complex entaglements of heterogenous actors in Makerspaces as the performative dimension of learning processes. Focussing on the findings within the project „Making, Fabbing, Hacking - New Forms of Subjectivation in the Context of Post-Digital Media Cultures“, the paper illustrates which forms and modes of subjectivation can emerge in FabLabs and Makerspaces, which discourses are (re-)produced in which way, and the role played by material artifacts in this process. The aim of the project is to capture and describe the constitutive elements of FabLabs and Makerspaces through a focused ethnographic approach (Knoblauch 2001). In contrast to studies that investigate Makerspaces by following ‚classical‘ anthropocentrical perspectives on learning (e.g. Litts 2015; Wong & Partridge 2016; Wolf & Wudarski 2018), the paper puts focus on the multi-faceted exchange processes between (human and non-human) actors in a Makerspace and concepualizes learning as a relational process of hybrid actors (Fenwick & Edwards 2010). Therefore the research approach refers particularly on material-discursive practices as pointed out by approaches within 'new materialism' (Barad 2003; Dolphijn & van der Tuin 2012) and links them to relational learning theory (Künkler 2014).
The underlying research questions are: How are practices, materialities and discourses in Makerspaces and FabLabs interwoven? What forms of subjectivation are being produced by material-discursive practices? How does (in) stability of the heterogeneous constellations occur? Under which conditions do (new) practices become established? Where and how does failure occur?
The data collection follows an ethnographic approach which is pursued towards methodological developments from the context of actor-network-theory (Loon 2014). Within a participatory observation in two self-organized Makerspaces, material-discursive practices are recorded in detail by videography and supplemented by interviews. The analysis is based on the reconstruction of discoursive practices (Wrana 2012) which are expanded on materialities by a perspective on distributed agency (Rammert 2012). Thus, the project aims to analyze the forms and modes of subjectivation that are shown in FabLabs and Makerspaces. It asks which discourses are (re-)produced in which way in heterogeneous constellations with distributed actors (Hoppe & Lemke 2015). The observed event is thus understood as a material-discursive practice (Barad 2012), which unfolds as a process-oriented and socially contextualized negotiation and attribution. The approach will be discussed regarding the transferability to other (educational) contexts with regard to the subjectivation practices taking place there.
The project started in january 2019, data collection will take place in april and may. It is expected that there will be first results until the ECER conference. One of the focal points of the discussion is the extent to which discursive structures are shown in hybrid network of actors and where possible resistances or affirmative movements arise. On a theoretical level the relational approach on subjectivation will be critically discussed in the context of learning theories that follow posthumanist perspectives and a de-centralization of the subject.
Barad, K. (2003). Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 28(3), 801-831. Cramer, F. (2014). What is ‘Post-digital’? APRJA, 3(1). Dolphijn, R. & van der Tuin, I. (Eds.). (2012). New Materialism: Interviews & Cartographies. Michigan: Open Humanities Press. Fenwick, T. J. & Edwards, R. (2010). Actor-network theory in education. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon; New York: Routledge. Hepp, A. (2016). Pioneer communities: collective actors in deep mediatisation. Media, Culture & Society, 38(6), 918-933. Hoppe, K. & Lemke, T. (2015). Die Macht der Materie. Grundlagen und Grenzen des agentiellen Realismus von Karen Barad. Soziale Welt, 66, 261-279. Künkler, T. (2014). Lernen in Beziehung: Zum Verhältnis von Subjektivität und Relationalität in Lernprozessen. transcript Verlag. Litts, B.K. (2015). Making learning: Makerspaces as learning environments. Ann Arbor: ProQuest Loon, J. v. (2014). Reassembling Ethnographie. Bruno Latours Neugestaltung der Soziologie. In D. Lengersdorf & M. Wieser (Hrsg.), Schlüsselwerke der Science & Technology Studies (p. 319-329). Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden. Rammert, W. (2012). Distributed Agency and Advanced Technology. Or: How to Analyse Constellations of Collective Inter-Agency. In J.-H. Passoth, B. Peuker & M. Schillmeier (Eds.) Agency without actors? New approaches to collective action. (p. 89-112). New York: Routledge. Schelhowe, H. (2013). Digital Realities, Physical Action and Deep Learning – FabLabs as Educational Environments? In J. Walter-Herrmann & C. Büching (Eds.), FabLab. Of Machines, Makers and Inventors (p. 93-104). Bielefeld: transcript. Walter-Herrmann, J. & Büching, C. (2013). Notes on FabLabs. In J. Walter-Herrmann & C. Büching (Eds.), FabLab. Of Machines, Makers and Inventors (p. 9-23). Bielefeld: transcript. Wolf, K.D. & Wudarski, U. (2018). Communicative Figurations of Expertization: DIY_MAKER and Multi-Player Online Gaming (MOG) as Cul- tures of Amateur Learning. In A. Hepp, A. Breiter & U. Hasebrink (Eds.) Communicative Figurations. Transforming Communications in Times of Deep Mediatization (S. 123-148). Wiesbaden: Springer. Wong, A. & Partridge, H. (2016). Making as Learning: Makerspaces in Universities. Australian Academic & Research Libraries, 47(3), 143- 159. Wrana, D. (2012). Diesseits von Diskursen und Praktiken. Methodologische Bemerkungen zu einem Verhältnis. In B. Friebertshäuser, H. Kelle, H. Boller, S. Bollig, C. Huf, A. Langer, M. Ott & S. Richter (Eds.), Feld und Theorie. Herausforderungen erziehungswissenschaftlicher Ethnographie (p. 185–200). Opladen, Berlin & Toronto: Budrich.
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