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  • Making Space for the Sharing Economy: Fablab Torino and the Performativity of Democratized Production

    Samantha Cenere

    Chapter from the book: Travlou P. & Ciolfi L. 2022. Ethnographies of Collaborative Economies across Europe: Understanding Sharing and Caring.

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    The spreading of collaborative practices in the production and consumption of goods and services constitutes an unavoidable challenge to researchers aiming at understanding the sociospatial dynamics of economic life. Fablabs in particular are identified as expressions of a new form of material production pivoting on collaboration and democratised innovation. Embracing a recent claim in economic geography for an appreciation of the relevant role of spatial dynamics in organizations (Müller 2015), I argue for an investigation of collaborative workplaces through an ethnographic research of the situated practices involved in the process of organising a Fablab. Drawing on Actor-Network Theory and the ‘performativity programme’ launched by Michel Callon (1998), the chapter argues that collaborative economies could be analysed as the emergent outcome of the interaction between economic theories and heterogeneous socio-technical arrangements through which they are brought into being, showing how economics performs the economy. In order to unpack the contingent, situated, and fragile nature of this process with regards to Fablabs and Makers, the chapter discusses the data from an ethnographic investigation of a Fablab in Turin, Italy, working on two levels. Firstly, it identifies the economic theories involved in the process of performing Fablabs as collaborative and open spaces within contemporary urban economies. Secondly, it shows how sociospatial processes of organizing participate in the enactment of an economy where production and innovation have been ‘democratised’ and where collaboration and sharing are at the core of value production. However, the chapter highlights also how the process of actualization is never stable, resulting sometimes in failures and ‘misfires’ (Callon 2010).

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    Cenere, S. 2022. Making Space for the Sharing Economy: Fablab Torino and the Performativity of Democratized Production. In: Travlou P. & Ciolfi L (eds.), Ethnographies of Collaborative Economies across Europe. London: Ubiquity Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/bct.e

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    Published on Dec. 30, 2022


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