Annual Meeting of the European Association for Science and Technology Studies and the Society for Social Studies of Science
August 31st, 2016 to September 3rd, 2016
Previously entitled: Aspirations Here/Elsewhere: Alternative World-Making for Hackers and DIYbiologists
DIYbiology (Do-it-yourself biology) and hacking are uniquely positioned as sites of political action and democratized knowledge production open to contestation and negotiation. From the utopian entrepreneurial pursuits of economic reformation to the critical reworking of scientific education, this paper documents my year-long ethnographic research on DIYbiology and hacker cultures in three different cities in Indonesia. In this paper, I investigate how DIYbiology and hacker cultures unfold in relation to regional scientific and technological production in Indonesia. In doing so, I undertake the project of looking at "gaps" (Tsing 2005) by interrogating the limits of dominant ideologies related to hacking and making in marginal sites of innovation.
Calling into question how hackers and DIYbiologists participate in alterative world-making projects, I demonstrate how maker and hacker cultures are not only shaped by and shape past and contemporary regional knowledge production processes but also serve as emergent sites of aspirations and future-making in Indonesia. These aspirations and ambitions however, exist in a highly uneven and patchy terrain, revealing contradictions which rupture any continuous cultural imaginary of making and hacking across disparate sites.
This paper builds on a growing body of STS scholarship which recognizes the culturally embedded practices of making, hacking and design in non-western contexts and how innovation exist beyond dominant spaces of technological innovation and digital labour (Lindtner 2015; Irani 2015; Barker 2015). In doing so, this paper extends work studying peripheral modes of grassroots technoscientific innovation that challenge analytical frames such as west/east and developed/developing.