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Sustainable Making? Balancing Optimism and Criticism in HCI Discourse


We examine the recent move from a rhetoric of “users” toward one of “makers,” “crafters,” and “hackers” within HCI discourse. Through our analysis, we make several contributions. First, we provide a general overview of the structure and common framings within research on makers. We discuss how these statements reconfigure themes of empowerment and progress that have been central to HCI rhetoric since the field's inception. In the latter part of the article, we discuss the consequences of these shifts for contemporary research problems. In particular, we explore the problem of designed obsolescence, a core issue for Sustainable Interaction Design (SID) research. We show how the framing of the maker, as an empowered subject, presents certain opportunities and limitations for this research discourse. Finally, we offer alternative framings of empowerment that can expand maker discourse and its use in contemporary research problems such as SID.

DOI: 10.1145/2699742

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