The maker movement has risen to recent public prominence, imagined by governments, industry, and educators as leading to economic growth. This article examines this movement through analysis of the figure of the hacker and the way in which scientific citizenship is represented through it. Hacking and making’s widely claimed salience to public policy, education, and social enterprise has been enabled by a public imagination of hackers as ideal (scientific) citizens. By using political theory concerning the role and value of silence in citizenship, the article explores what is rendered other through this promotion of the figure of the hacker, suggesting that practices of care, watching and waiting, thinking and reflecting, and sitting with are all valuable aspects of citizenship that are elided in contemporary accounts. The argument has implications for the maker movement, wider conceptions of scientific citizenship, and public imaginations of innovation: by focusing on the “noise” of active participation and personal responsibility, we miss the “silence” of other ways of being.
Interrogating Innovation: Silence, Citizenship, and the Figure of the Hacker
Sarah R. Davies is associate professor at the University of Copenhagen. Her background is in science and technology studies, and her work focuses on the relationship between science and society, including science communication and amateur science such as DIY biology. Recent publications include the books Hackerspaces (2017) and Science Communication (with Maja Horst, 2016).