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Accepted Paper:

Coping with crises through DIY strategies  
Merle Ibach (Academy of Arts and Design, FHNW Basel)

Paper short abstract:

The DIY boom during the pandemic could be thought of as a time killer against boredom. But rather, the hands-on activities served as personal strategies to cope with the global uncertainty. The perceived uncertainty was countered by making things tangible, in order to stabilise-it-yourself.

Paper long abstract:

During the pandemic, a real boom in DIY activities could be observed. Those were activities such as baking sourdough bread, growing kombucha, repairing broken devices, planting balconies or knitting. They were very present on social media, but also visible through empty shelves in hardware stores. The DIY boom could be thought of as a time killer against boredom at home. But rather, the hands-on activities uncovered a much more fundamental desire. They served as strategies to cope with the perceived uncertainty that arose from the pandemic. Through DIY activities, the uncertainty was countered by making things tangible, in order to stabilise-it-yourself. The pandemic experience reflects in short, what I was able to observe during my long term empirical research on maker communities, that is part of my PhD project.

Coping with crises and thus the question of eco-social sustainability, is one of the fundamental and driving forces of maker communities, which have increasingly been founded in rural areas in Germany since the 2010s. They criticise the growth-oriented mindset of highly industrialised countries. Therefore, the maker communities are developing innovative and creative models for housing, working, and living together alternatively. However, the visionary concepts and toolboxes appear as well-intentioned "ready-made-futures". As such, they offer prefabricated solutions to cope with crises, but limit the idea of "changing the world" again to the limits of capitalist reproduction (cf. Daily 2017).

Panel P044
Entangled Commons. Shifting Infrastructures of Sociality toward Visionary Pragmatic Lifeworlds [UrbAn]
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -