PARTICIPATION, IDENTITY, AND MATERIALITY: UNPACKING HOBBYIST COLLECTIVES AND THE MAKER MOVEMENT

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Abstract

The Maker Movement represents a broader trend that celebrates do-it-yourself (DIY) culture and aims to foster a global community of hobbyists, artists, designers, and engineers. It is being fueled by concurrent technological innovations and the growth of alternative organizations such as hobbyist collectives. I examine this contemporary phenomenon by developing an understanding of DIY culture and associated practices. I show how the movement does not neatly fit into existing academic typologies of social movements but instead blends elements of social, cultural, and technical movements. Drawing on ethnographic data from an extreme case, I show how one hobbyist collective addressed the challenge of participation by reproducing a collective identity, generating attachment to place, and socializing outsiders. Findings from this study advance our understanding of the role of place and material objects in sustaining participation in the context of voluntary, participatory collectives. In a second study, I compare how two organizations engaged in strategic action to make claims about their identities in their pursuit of resources, legitimacy, and authenticity. These findings contribute to the literature on organizational fields by demonstrating the nested nature of fields and highlighting the way organizations navigate the tensions which arise from such nestedness. By showing how these organizations strategically used material objects in their performance of authenticity, I join other scholars in developing a richer understanding of the cultural and symbolic elements of organizations and their institutional environments.

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2018-12-30
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Keywords
Organization theory; Collectives; Maker Movement; Makerspaces; Organizational Fields; Organizational Identity; Organizational behavior; ethnography
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Committee Chair
Besharov, Marya L.
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Kuruvilla, Sarosh C.
Jackson, Steven J.
Degree Discipline
Industrial and Labor Relations
Degree Name
Ph. D., Industrial and Labor Relations
Degree Level
Doctor of Philosophy
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Government Document
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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
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dissertation or thesis
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