Futuribles Journal n° 410

Entreprises, travail - Société, modes de vie

The “Hacker” Ethic and the Maker Spirit: The “Hackerspace” Experience in the San Francisco Bay Area


Whereas France (and Europe in general) is failing, despite the very strong attachment of French people to the work ethic, to overcome the crisis of employment in which it has been mired for more than 30 years, this article by Michel Lallement offers a breath of fresh air on the relationship to work and the possible alternatives in this area. Drawing on a field study carried out in Californian “hackerspaces”, Lallement shows how different communities gather in sites dedicated to “making” things and even to “making things together” —new spaces of formal or informal work where individuals develop various personal or occupational projects.

Michel Lallement first describes the hacker mentality and the particular example of the “hackerspaces” of the San Francisco Bay Area (pioneers in the field), then gives us an insight into the principles and practices of the hackers, as well as the forms of social regulation they have introduced over time in these spaces, the main watchword being to work “for yourself, with others”. It would, admittedly, be utopian to imagine that these kinds of workspaces could be extended for everyone’s use —traditional companies will continue to exist— but their development sends an interesting, encouraging signal that may well spread both geographically and to a variety of sectors, both with technological change and as generations born in the digital age arrive on the labour market —people who are more disposed to work both individually and in networks.

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