In the framework of a doctoral thesis, I intend to study the institutionnalisation of the Maker Movement in France : the professionalization process of the actors involved, the constitution of pressure groups, the creation of partnerships between different structures within the movement, with local communities, public institutions and industrialist… Fab Labs, hackerspaces, makerspaces organize themselves at different scales in order to promote their ideals, defend their interests and unlock access to all kind of resources.
Digital and collaborative fabrication spaces are spreading over France, and in the global context. By November of 2018, 201 Fab Labs could be counted in metropolitan France alone. Making it the 6th country with more Fab Labs, ex æquo with the United States. Adding hacker and maker spaces to the list, approximately 400 existing structure could be found. Introduced by some as the heart of a new industrial revolution, digital fabrication labs have captured the attention of the public sector and companies in the role of innovation hubs. They also represent for certains groups a pole of éducation populaire (community education) , meeting point for the associative world, democratization of the means of fabrication conforming a social link with the territory. Others groups of labs present themselves as the core of a resistance against a sociotechnical system that alienates citizens to technology and any activity related to the production. They stand in the idea of producing for the satisfaction of the activity itself, openly and collaboratively.
Those comprise with in maker worlds posses a great diversity of characteristics that define them: they don’t share a philosophie, neither have they the same ambitions. This diversity, paired with the institutionalization of the movement, raises controversy on what is to be the most basic definition of what is and what can be a makerspace, a Fab Lab. Organizers of these amateur labs professionalize themselves and pressure groups are form to stand for the hacker ethic, the philosophy of open and shared making while negotiating access to financial and symbolic resources. Other international networks emerge aiming to support young businesses that aim to relocate production of manufactures and agriculture, structurating the relation among maker spaces, startups and big municipalities.
Summing up, to understand what is the Maker Movement in France today and the nature of the opérating institutionalization process, this thesis proposes to study the network of actors that relient in each other for one part, and the social, economic and political spheres.
Doctoral supervisors : Gilles Bastin and Sidonie Naulin.