Technology and human capabilities in UK makerspaces

O'Donovan, Cian and Smith, Adrian (2019) Technology and human capabilities in UK makerspaces. Journal of Human Development and Capabilities. ISSN 1945-2829

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The relationship between technology and human capabilities is an ambivalent one. The same technology can expand capabilities for some users under certain circumstances, whilst diminishing capabilities for others situated differently. In this paper we analyse human capabilities in relation to digital design and fabrication technologies as configured, sociotechnically, in makerspaces in the UK. Through a combination of methods, the study identifies how some of the capability benefits claimed for makerspaces are experienced in practice, whilst noting that other capabilities claimed appear absent. Q-method in particular enables the study to examine systematically the plurality in these expansions and absences. We discuss how capabilities might be expanded, how our methods might be of wider use, and we draw some conclusions for theory regarding sociotechnical configurations and human capabilities.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Capability approach, Technology, Makerspaces, Innovation policy, Q-method, Sociotechnical configurations
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Depositing User: Adrian Smith
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2020 09:03
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2020 08:45

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Responsible Innovation and Happiness: A New Approach to the Effect of ICTsG1889UNIVERSITY OF OSLO170100 - Happy ICT