Tools from below: Making agricultural machines convivial

Published: Sep 24, 2020
technological sovereignty open-source agriculture commons-based peer production grass-roots innovation
Alekos (Alexandros) Pantazis
Morgan Meyer
This paper explores Commons-Based Peer Production (CBPP) and the democratization of knowledge and technology in the field of agriculture. While most existing academic work mobilising these notions focus on the digital world, our two case studies – a legume-harvesting machine and a tool for hammering fencing poles – examine what happens when those notions are operationalized for hardware production. Our case studies take place in the context of Design Global, Manufacture Local (DGML) and look at the micro-level of practices, and the explicit and tacit knowledge that are mobilised when using open-source technologies to produce tools for the primary sector. We argue that the process of "open-sourcing" tools needs to be better theorised, and we show how this process mobilises expertise, experience, and engagement, connects various localities, and relies on representational practices. Our article aims to provide a better understanding of how digital commons interact with distributed physical manufacturing, what processes can lead to open-sourcing hardware and making technology convivial, and inform future research and policy proposals.
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Author Biographies
Alekos (Alexandros) Pantazis, Tallinn University of Technology
Junior Research Fellow, Tallinn University of Technology. Core Member, P2P Lab
Morgan Meyer, Centre de Sociologie de l’ Innovation, i3 UMR CNRS
CNRS Research Director, CSI - Centre de Sociologie de l’ Innovation, i3 UMR CNRS, Mines ParisTech, PSL Research University
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