Learning and Teaching Through Social Fabrication: From an Ethnographic Study in “Fablab Kamakura”


This paper analyzes the relationship between participation and learning represented in ethnographic case studies of ten informants aged 23-59 participating in a common-based peer production site, the FabLab Kamakura community. Digital-based personal fabrication is a new wave culture of mavens, who are devoted to alternatives to mass production, and are on a mission “to make (almost) anything”. FabLab Kamakura is a valuable venue for exchanging information about, for example, digital tools, Arduino, crafts, textiles, and so on. First we frame this work as an effort to think about their participation and learning using the concept of “wildfire activity theory” (Engeström, 2009) and “legitimate peripheral participation (LPP)” from Lave and Wenger (1991). Then we argue an overview of FabLab culture in Japan and at FabLab Kamakura. Using SCAT methodology (Otani, 2011), we group our findings in two different categories: (1) learning through participation in FabLab Kamakura, (2) the visualization of weak ties and mobility through participation in wildfire activities. We conclude that participants at FabLab Kamakura are producing and designing available artifacts for their lives and works, and in doing so, what they are designing is the physical manifestation of their very thoughts.

Author Information
Daisuke Okabe, Tokyo City University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2017
Stream: Humanities - Teaching and Learning

This paper is part of the ACAH2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon