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The cloud factory: Making things and making a living with desktop 3D printing

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Johan Söderberg
Publicerad i Culture and Organization
Volym 25
Nummer/häfte 1
Sidor 65-81
ISSN 1475-9551
Publiceringsår 2019
Publicerad vid Institutionen för filosofi, lingvistik och vetenskapsteori
Sidor 65-81
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.1080/14759551.2016.12...
Ämnesord social factory, 3D printing, makers, free labour, putting-out systems, sharing economy, labor process theory, informational capitalism, organization, work, internet, technology, critique, identity, industry, regimes, Business & Economics
Ämneskategorier Filosofi, etik och religion


This paper presents a case study of an open-source 3D printer called 'Rep-rap'. 3D printing derives from computer numerical control machinery, a technology first introduced against a background of industrial conflict. This historical fact reactualises labour process theory as a theoretical resource. However, the hobbyists in the Rep-rap project are located 'outside' the typical setting studied in labour process theory, that is, the workplace. The case study is, therefore, suitable for examining the limits of labour process theory. Its key tenet regarding structured antagonism between labour and capital is put to the test when the 'point of production' is located in a community and 'labour' consists in non-remunerated contributions by hobbyists (i.e. non-employees). Drawing on theories of the social factory and free labour in the cultural sector, the article argues that this is changing as hobbyists, fans, makers, etc., are put to work by start-up firms and venture capital in the so-called "sharing economy."

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