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Invention and Resistance: FabLabs against Proletarianization

Mazzilli-Daechsel, Stefano (2018) Invention and Resistance: FabLabs against Proletarianization. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent, Universität Hamburg. (KAR id:71693)

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The contemporary philosopher Bernard Stiegler has reopened the debate on the historically Marxist concept of proletarianization. Whereas Marx and Engels define the term as the continued expansion of an economic class that must sell their labour to the owners of the means of production, Stiegler argues that proletarianization is better understood as the gradual erosion of know-how (savoir). He attributes this erosion to a societal mismanagement of technological change. Starting from the premise that technological objects are material externalizations of capacities that previously inhered in the human, Stiegler asserts that we have systematically failed to compensate for these technological externalizations with the acquisition of new capacities, specifically those that would allow us to participate in technology's continuous evolution. As a consequence, this new technologically illiterate proletariat must constantly react to technological changes that are always developed elsewhere.

My aim is to investigate the extent to which the FabLabs can be considered sites of de-proletarianization. In so doing, I build on Stiegler's work to propose my own definition of proletarianization as a process that weakens our individual and collective abilities to pose and respond to political, social, and economic problems. This process has been driven by an acceleration in the rate of technological change that has not been matched with a commensurate cultivation and distribution of the capacities that would allow people to problematize and participate in the technological evolution of their societies. As a result, the problems we face as individuals, collectives, and as a species, are increasingly conditioned by technological artifacts that we grasp inadequately as users and consumers.

Underlying this investigation is an ontological framework that is capacities-based, pluralist, and non-anthropocentric. Inspired by the works of Gilles Deleuze and the object-oriented ontologist Levi Bryant, I argue that all beings, humans and nonhumans, are defined by their capacities to affect, to be affected, and to resist. This ontological framework allows me to develop different concepts of invention and resistance that are integral to both my theorization of proletarianization and my assessment of the FabLabs as sites of de-proletarianization.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Miller, Vince
Thesis advisor: Carney, Phil
Uncontrolled keywords: fabrication laboratories, FabLab, proletarianization, capacity-based ontology, Bernard Stiegler, Gilles Deleuze, Gilbert Simondon
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2019 13:10 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2021 23:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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