On the Relationship between Industrial Work and Democratized Production

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 15:45
Oral Presentation
Klara-Aylin WENTEN, Technical University Munich, Germany
This talk seeks to engage with the relationship between traditional work practices in industrial companies and new production practices related to the “Maker Movement”. It will give insights into the impact of the proclaimed fourth industrial revolution on these different practices and understandings of work in the context of digital fabrication.

Over the past few years, actors from the “Maker Movement” have characterized the fourth industrial revolution with an increase of collective, decentralized and democratized production. They have claimed to disrupt prevailing practices in innovation and production owing to new technology like 3 D printing and communal access to it by open workshops, so-called Makerspaces or FabLabs. These workshops are spaces, where employees from larger industrial companies, private users or self-employed workers can come together to prototype and experiment with digital production tools.

Makerspaces are located right in the center of conventional industrial work practices and novel forms of digital work. Since greater industries show growing interest in Makerspaces, innovation and entrepreneurship become relocated beyond the conventional industrial realm. This paper seeks to investigate such development in order to understand its effects on work practices in both Makerspaces and companies that start to cooperate with them. How can this relationship between conventional and novel work practices be described? The paper concludes with a better understanding of whether and how actors can also challenge conventional forms of work through digital technology and how this might affect and transform innovation industries. The research purpose will be supported by interviews and ethnographic fieldwork in two Makerspaces that are financed and used by industrial companies.