Theaters of Alternative Industry: Hobbyist Repair Collectives and the Legacy of the 1960s American Counterculture

  • Daniela K. RosnerEmail author
  • Fred Turner
Part of the Understanding Innovation book series (UNDINNO)


This chapter describes initial results from an ethnographic study of design and engineering engagements in community-operated sites at which hobbyists mend and repair mass-produced goods. We conducted participant observation at seven repair events and two collectives in the San Francisco Bay area where consumer electronics are reassembled, and spoke with approximately eighty repair practitioners. Here we describe surprising connections between repair and social movements that, in turn, reveal deep ties between contemporary hobbyist repair and countercultural design practices of the 1960s. These links, we argue, open new and important areas for design research.


Social Movement Design Practice Repair Activity Repair Work Electronic Waste 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank the Hasso Plattner Design Thinking Research Program HPDTRP for funding this project. We would also like to thank the participants in the repair collectives we observed and our research subjects who made this work possible.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS)Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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