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Do-it-yourself: the precarious work and postfeminist politics of handmaking (in) Detroit.


Drawing on limited ethnographic fieldwork conducted in 2009 and 2010, this article analyzes how the idioms of "craft" and "handmaking" are being evoked and (re) imagined in Detroit. Because of a recent flurry of journalistic accounts of artists, makers, and entrepreneurs flocking to the city's industrial ruins, Detroit has reemerged in the public imaginary as a utopic "blank canvas": an empty space waiting to be inscribed and transformed by the arrival of a new (and predominately white) creative class. In this narrative of transforming the "Motor City" into "Maker City," the future of the not-quite-postindustrial city rests in the hands of those willing and able to do-it-themselves. While urban farming, artist collectives, hackerspaces, and business start-ups are all part of this narrative, here I focus primarily on the gendered domestic arts (knitting, sewing, needlepoint, and so on), craft fairs, and in particular the work of an all female grassroots collective of makers called Handmade Detroit. Interrogating the intersections between postfeminist and post-Fordist subjectivities that emerge in and through the narratives, spaces, and practices of the "indie" crafting community in Detroit, I argue that pleasure and self-fulfillment are often exchanged for what might otherwise be felt to be unstable, precarious, and even exploitive work. Finally, this article explores how the transformative rhetoric of DIY often espouses values of pleasure, autonomy, and (consumer) choice, reproducing neoliberalist rationalities and limiting the political potential of craft and community activism in Detroit.


Over the last decade an informal and loosely knit network of persons, discourses, events, practices, and real and virtual spaces has emerged in North American cities around the terms crafting, making, do-it-yourself, and handmade. Drawing on three weeks of ethnographic fieldwork, semistructured interviews, and an online questionnaire conducted between November 2009 and August 2010, this article critically engages with how the idiom of "handmaking" is being evoked and reimagined in the city of Detroit. (1) Because of a recent flurry of journalistic accounts of artists, makers, and entrepreneurs flocking to the city's industrial ruins, Detroit has reemerged in the public imaginary as a utopic "blank canvas": an empty space waiting to be inscribed and transformed by the arrival of a new (and predominately white) creative class. In this narrative of transforming "The Motor City to Maker City," as the motto of the 2010 Maker Faire Detroit would have it, the future of the not-quite-postindustrial city rests in the hands of those willing and able to do-it-themselves.

While urban farming, artist collectives, hackerspaces, and business start-ups are all part of this narrative, here I focus primarily on the gendered domestic arts (knitting, sewing, needlepoint, and so on), craft fairs, and in particular the work of an all-female grassroots collective of makers called Handmade Detroit. (2) Involved in organizing "indic'" craft fairs (including the annual Detroit Urban Craft Fair), clothing, fabric, and houseware swaps and building online resources for the local craft community, its members are attempting to create new forms of urban sociality and "reclaim" the streets of Detroit. The Handmade Detroit manifesto posted on the group's Web site reads in part: "We believe in the unique value of handmade goods, the act of creation and good old community building. We believe that anyone in Detroit who hems a pair of pants, knits a gift for a friend or sells their handmade goods is helping to redefine sustainability, consumerism and the future of our city.'" Going back to the Arts and Crafts movement of the late nineteenth century, crafts and craftsmanship have a long history of being positioned as a moral corrective to alienating forms of industrial production. (3) While it is true that the moral value of handmade goods is still articulated in opposition to "'sweatshop" or "'machine-made" goods, what is interesting about the discourse of handmade that has emerged in the last decade is its assertion not of particular artisanal qualities or labor concerns but of the pleasures and the transformative value of making things yourself. What is important to Handmade Detroit is not necessarily what is made, how skillfully it is produced, or even whether it is transacted through gift or economy but, rather, this "'unique" connection between individual acts of creation and the transformation of self, city, and social world. In this context, making material things (and somehow exchanging these things with others) is positioned as an inherently moral and meaningful practice. It is the uncritical celebration of craft-making as the means and ends of socioeconomic transformation that this article attempts to confront. Is the imagined DIY Detroit really a city of new or unlimited social and political possibilities? What does this "'handmade" Detroit look like to those who are, intentionally or not, excluded by the individualist rhetoric and self-selected community of doing-it-yourself?

The discourses and practices that surround contemporary "craftwork" are characterized by a desire for tactile and material production; this desire seems to speak against the qualities of immaterial labor that scholars argue have come to define the late capitalist era known as post-Fordism. (4) However, the process of making and selling crafts that appear at events like the Maker Faire or the Detroit Urban Craft Fair informs and is informed by these postFordist subjectivities--as a form of highly individualized, flexible, affective work that blurs the boundaries of leisure and labor time. The desire for pleasurable, creative work--exchanged for what might otherwise be felt to be unstable, precarious, and even exploitive work--provides an interesting vantage point to explore the parallels and interpenetrations of post-Fordist labor and postfeminist politics. As the core values of the postfeminist subjectivity-pleasure, autonomy, (consumer) choice--are also central to neoliberalist rationalities, I am interested in how these desires come to shape and bracket the "politics of the possible" in Detroit? In this context, rather than a utopic source for radical social and political potential, doing-it-yourself may in fact serve the interests of post-Fordist capitalism and reinforce the city's dee-prooted structural inequalities. Overall, I want to open up critically engaged spaces for interrogating the conflicting meanings of contemporary craftwork, both as a form of labor and as the basis for community building and social activism more broadly.

Contemporary Craft: Affective Work and the Structure of Feeling

The significance of handmaking in Detroit needs to be situated first within the wider "crafter" or "indie craft" culture that has emerged online and off since the late nineties. The dominant narrative put forth by popular accounts such as Faythe Levine and Courtney Heirmerl's Handmade Nation: The Rise of D.I.Y., Art, Craft, and Design positions this resurgence as a reinstatement of particular (often gendered) forms of public sociality around craft practice and of the creation of alternative forms of consumption and material production outside of corporate capitalism. It shares its ideological roots with a long history of arts and crafts movements, drawing on figures such as John Ruskin and William Morris, "who contrasted the 'spiritual deadness' of machinemade goods with the craftsmanship of the Middle Ages, where goods may have been imperfect but where their makers were not reduced to 'slavery,'" and the resurgence of craft that became associated with the anti-Vietnam War pacifist movement. (6) Rather than conceptualizing this diffuse network of craftwork as a social movement, however, I propose that it is more fruitful to consider it as a structure of feeling "'which is indeed social and material, but each in an embryonic phase before it can become fully articulate and defined exchange." (7) Furthermore, drawing from the work of autonomist Marxists Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, and Paulo Virno, this article is interested in craft-making not simply as a site of political or social critique but also as a kind of work, a form of post-Fordist labor/leisure.

While there is yet to be any extensive ethnographic research done on the contemporary craft resurgence, a number of interdisciplinary scholars have laid the groundwork for the study of crafting. Scholars in sociology, material culture studies, and art history who have looked at contemporary urban crafting in North America and Western Europe have focused particularly on the resurgent popularity in knitting. In their article on Stitch "n Bitch communities--groups of predominately female knitters who commune together to chat and knit in bars, coffee shops, and yarn stores--Stella Minahan and Julie Cox describe the knitting resurgence in North America as a form of resistance to what they term the "'individualism of the present" and to the marginalization of handicrafts as meaningful cultural projection. (8) My research departs from that of Minahan and Cox in that it focuses primarily on crafters who sell the things they make, rather than knitting purely for leisure. As I will develop later on, I also found that rather than resisting "individualism," the handmade objects sold at Detroit craft fairs were deeply encoded and explicitly branded with the individuality of the maker. While I would agree with what they present as an ambivalent relationship between crafters and feminine domesticity, Minahan and Cox overlook how crafting might also provide insight into the ambivalent politics of postfeminism more broadly. Perhaps most relevant to my argument here, communication scholars Zach Bratich and Heidi Brush have made a distinction between "'craftwork"--the specific laboring practices of making crafts--and "fabriculture"--the broader discourse, community, and "'craftivism" connected to the material labor of craft. (9) Like Minahan and Cox, Bratich and Brush focus on how contemporary fabriculture is a highly mediated phenomenon, connected not simply through face-to-face interactions but through print media, television, blogs, and social networking sites. Drawing on Sadie Plant's and Kirsty Robertson's respective engagements with finks between crafting and the origins of digital culture, Bratich and Brush suggest that virtual fabriculture reveals the always embodied and tactile nature of digital media and labor. (10) Most notably, they also position craft as a kind of affective labor, which, as Michael Hardt defines it, is labor that is constitutive of communities and collective subjectivities. (11) My discussion of subjectivity throughout this article draws upon anthropological approaches to the individual, collective, and political subject; contingent, multiple, and constantly in flux, subjectivity is constituted by and through emergent affective states, embodied experience, institutional processes, and symbolic or cultural forms. (12) Building on the work of Bratich and Brush, this article aims to look at what the affective labor of craft reveals about post-Fordist political and labor subjectivities more broadly and how this connects to postfeminist individualist politics and to the utopic imaginings of a "handmade" Detroit.

The Blank Canvas: Whiteness and the Utopic Potential of Ruined Spaces

A byline in the Globe and Mail from February 26, 2010, by Siri Agrell reads, 'Artists, attracted by cheap property and the blank canvas of abandoned buildings, are moving in to the dying city. They just might be its saviours." Clearly, an overview of how the landscape of Detroit has been shaped by Fordist production, race riots, "white flight" and suburbanization, disinvestment, traumatic deindustrialization, and processes of gentrification is far beyond the scope of this article. Suffice it to say that according to popular accounts America's great industrial city has in the last fifty years been transformed into "a scene of devastation and disintegration.., which looks at times like a cross between postwar Berlin and the ruin of an ancient civilization." (13) According to sociologist George Steinmetz, there are as many as eighty thousand abandoned buildings in the city, and with empty lots outnumbering houses in many neighborhoods, Detroit is increasingly referred to as an "urban prairie." (14) Since 2001, Detroit has had the highest unemployment rate among the fifty largest American cities and since 2007, the highest rate of home foreclosures in the country. (15)

There has been a recent flurry of journalistic accounts of Detroit's "irresistible decay"--its industrial ruins and abandoned houses standing in as evocative symbols of the economic downturn and the crisis of foreclosures in the United States. Geographer Tim Edensor argues that industrial ruins are most often idealized through either a "romantic aesthetic," which emphasizes the picturesque, the sublime, and the evocation of melancholia, or a "'modern gothic sensibility," which emerges out of postindustrial nostalgia and emphasizes dystopian fantasies of urban futures. (16) There seem to be traces of both of these gazes in the popular desire, or ruininlust, for Detroit's urban decay. (17) These popular discourses evoke the ruin as a liminal space caught between presence and absence, visible and invisible, preservation and loss. (18) Detroit's industrial ruins do not simply encode the loss of the past but also hold the promise of alternative futures; they are imagined as transgressive, heterotopic spaces that enable less-regulated forms of social practice-spaces of graffiti, site -specific art, rave parties, drug use, sex, communal living, and so on--that challenge commodified, planned urban space. (19)

The popular discourse of Detroit's ruination represents the city as a dystopic wasteland but also as a kind of utopic "blank canvas": an empty space waiting to be inscribed and transformed by artists and the arrival of a new creative class. (20) According to Andrew Wagner, the editor in chief of the DIY magazine Readymade, Detroit "presents an immense and almost limitless amount of possibilities for anyone with the drive to make something happen." (21) In a recent New York Times article, Dale Dougherty, the editor and publisher of Make magazine, says of Detroit: "'There's a sense that it's a frontier again, that it's open, that you can do things without a lot of people telling you, "No, you can't do that."' (22) Like a frontier, Detroit is imagined to be dangerous and lawless but also ripe with the freedom and potential for doing what you want to do, however you want to do it. In these accounts it is artists and creative makers who are taking up the call to recolonize this cultural "no-man's-land"; (23) positioned as Detroit's "saviors" by journalists like Agrell, they are uncritically celebrated as a force of almost evangelical transformation. (24)

However, as critics of Richard Florida's equally zealous model of the transformative potential of the "creative class" have argued, these narratives "'work quietly with the grain of extant 'neoliberal' development agendas, framed around interurban competition, gentrification, middle-class consumption and place-marketing." (25) More simply, accounts of Detroit as a "blank canvas" are quick to ignore the fact that the city is still home to almost a million people and a wide spectrum of hopes and desires for a more "livable" city. As a commenter on the recent New York Times article "Wringing Art Out of the Rubble in Detroit" so aptly put it: "While Detroit is indeed full of exciting opportunities for those (especially Caucasians) whose youth, health, optimism and resources render them fit to survive in a complex and embattled city, it is not a blank slate. History (it would be more correct to say plural histories) is a ghost presence on every block. Detroit's landscape is a fascinating fabric of industrialization and its dissolution, labor struggles, African American oppression, emergence and economic marginalization." (26) Far from a tabula rasa, the industrial and residential "ruins" of Detroit encode histories and material traces of those who have lived and continue to live in and among them.

The metaphor of the blank canvas is also notable for its "whiteness"; as New York Times journalist Melena Ryzik mentions with little elaboration, Detroit's "'largely white creative class stands out in a largely black city[, and] integration remains rare." (27) This lack of integration was certainly apparent at the Detroit Urban Craft Fair and the Detroit Maker Faire, where visible minorities--a misnomer in downtown Detroit, where African Americans are the majority--were few and far between. Twenty-three out of fifty-five respondents to my online questionnaire felt that the growing craft community in Detroit was predominately white--notably, 91 percent of respondents also self-identified as "'white" or "Caucasian." When asked to explain the lack of diversity in the craft community, a few responders noted that there was a certain kind of luxury implicit in having the time, resources, and social capital needed not only to make things but to produce a particular aesthetic or marketable product: "Oh yes, its white kids who have the luxury of DIY. Most of the Black community has been DIY out of necessity for years here. Drinking out of a jelly jar because you don't have dishes is poverty. Drinking out of a jelly jar with a cute decoupage picture of a robot because you are privileged enough to differentiate between a store-bought branded set of dishes is DIY." (28) For this respondent, the ability to choose and distinguish between making something out of necessity and making as part of a larger aesthetic or moral calling was a matter of (white) privilege and of cultural capital.

Craft organizers seem to be aware that there is something "vaguely" problematic about the cultural and racial homogeneity of the craft movement. When I interviewed Handmade Detroit members and Detroit Urban Craft Fair (DUCF) organizers Allison Davey, Chloe Vousden, and Sophie Mitchell about the relative lack of diversity at the DUCE they were surprised that anyone would ascribe a kind of luxury to making and selling handmade things. (29) While she acknowledged that almost all of the vendors and the majority of attendants at their events were white, Vousden said that all submissions, including those with, as she put it, "'obvious ethnicity in them,'" were judged the same way and that "it wasn't as if people [were] sending in headshots with their work." While she denied that the "ethnicity" of the maker influenced their vendor selection process, clearly what she perceived to be signifiers of ethnicity stood out among the seemingly racially unmarked work of white crafters. When I was first introduced to Handmade Detroit and the DUCF at the City of Craft show in Toronto in 2008, Davey told me that although black crafters have applied to be in their show, "their aesthetic doesn't fit in" because "aesthetically, indie craft is very white." Tautologically, the lack of diversity at craft shows in Detroit was naturalized aesthetically: "Indie" craft is "white" because it is not perceived to be "'ethnically marked," and therefore "ethnically marked" crafts are out of place at "indie'" craft fairs. According to a Toronto-based craft organizer I interviewed: "I think it's odd when people submit work and they are of a nonwhite ethnicity, their work tends to mirror their ethnicity somehow. It's kind of weird to me--well not weird that they would do that, but weird that that is a common thing." (30) Like Vousden and Davey, she never questioned the essentialist reasoning that positions white crafters as individuals and racialized crafters as "representatives of vaguely comprehended groups." (31)

The craft techniques and objects associated with the online marketplace, online craft forum, and Craft magazine do seem to share a particular but hard-to-pin-down aesthetic that is often characterized

by a sense of irony and irreverence that serf-consciously subvert "traditional" craft styles and forms. (32) As the very term do-it-yourself implies, these products privilege individualism and the assertion of creative authorship, which are assumed to be at odds with craft practices that reference membership to a particular cultural group. It is, however, problematic to suggest that indie craft authentically articulates some sort of "white" tastes or experiences; as anthropologist John Hartigan writes in his ethnographic account of poor white neighborhoods in Detroit, whiteness (like any other imposed racial or ethnic category) is "a fluid and malleable category, encompassing a relentlessly heterogeneous population." (33)

When we spoke in February 2010, Davey seemed far more conflicted and ambivalent about the lack of diversity at Handmade Detroit events:
   We live in a very segregated place, we call ourselves "Handmade
   Detroit," and we're all white. It's strange to me. Why? I don't
   really know. It scares me that it is kind of an aesthetic movement.
   And I don't really like that. I want it to have a little more
   meaning, than we all like the same Ikea-looking shit. We all like
   modern stuff, and vintage stuff, and like, white-people aesthetic.
   And that's why we're here. That feels so hollow, and I don't feel
   hollow when I am doing it. But I have no idea. I mean I wonder
   sometimes if it is a dominant culture thing, you know, it's not
   like African Americans don't have a rich tradition of making stuff,
   you know, but are they not doing the same kind of organizing? And
   is that like a culture thing? Why is that? I feel like it is more
   than just--I don't even know how to put it into words. I mean why
   did we feel that we needed to get together and form a community? I
   don't know. I have no answers at all. (34)

During our discussion the lack of integration in the Detroit craft community was naturalized as an outcome of living in a "segregated place" or of the "indie'" craft scene's roots in the indie music scene and the blogging community or as a result of black crafters "not doing the same kind of organizing." For Davey, the absence of racial diversity in the Detroit maker community is not an effect of exclusionary practices but is subsumed within essentialist aesthetic difference. Rather than being direct articulations of racial sentiments, the hegemony of whiteness in the Detroit craft community stands as an example of "'the slew of categorical perceptions, discursive objectifications, and cultural assessments of belonging and difference that shape all projections of 'community."' (35) While these kinds of essentialist logics underlie all communities and social movements, the wider craft community included, they are no less insidious; the seemingly inclusive and altruistic rhetoric of transforming the city of Detroit through local, creative production is bracketed by the neglect of or indifference for those who fall outside of these aesthetic and racially coded boundaries.

Precarious Craftwork: Post-Fordism and the Immaterial Labor of Handmaking

On July 31, 2010, the world's largest DIY festival, the Maker Faire, took place for the first time in Metro Detroit on the grounds of the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. Despite the intense heat and humidity, six women sat knitting up rectangles of bright multicolored yarn to be joined to make an "unsanctioned" scarf for the statue of Thomas Edison that stands at the Greenville Village on the Henry Ford grounds. A black Ford Model T drove around the Faire grounds alongside multiperson pedal-powered vehicles made of reclaimed and recycled automotive parts. A man wearing a massive papiermache head resembling Henry Ford was taught to solder circuit boards by a man with thinning rainbow-colored hair. I went to the Maker Faire expecting the homemade multiperson bicycles, the hacked instruments, and the hand-sewn reconstructed clothing to stand in marked contrast to the Henry Ford Museum's collection dedicated to the city's illustrious history of industrial production. However, the Faire organizers and the host institution seemed to be constructing a very different kind of narrative.

In a July 2010 blog post entitled "Making Detroit: Changing the Story" on the Make: Online Blog, Dale Dougherty, editor and publisher of Make magazine, argues that the story of Detroit needs to be changed from that of "a disaster more than 50 years in the making" to "a story about what people are doing and what they can do"--a story of transforming the "'Motor City" into "Maker City." In the post, he recounts his decision to hold the event at the Henry Ford Museum: "'Walking amongst the steam engines, automobiles, planes, and bicycles, I saw it as the ultimate maker destination. Designed by Ford himself, he wanted others to learn and experience what previous generations had made--these marvellous machines. As I enjoy reading history, I was fascinated by the long history that was spawned by the tinkering in Henry Ford's garage. I thought The Henry Ford would be a perfect place to host a Maker Faire, and allow us to connect what's happening today with a past that shows us what's possible." (36) Likewise, in a Detroit Free Press article on the Maker Faire, Tom Varitek, senior manager of program operations for the Henry Ford Museum, claims, "Having the Maker Faire here, with our long manufacturing tradition, it really brings this story full circle." (37) Rather than antithesis, the characteristically noncorporate, socially and environmentally conscious forms of making that would seem to define the "Maker City"--including raising your own chickens and bees, handcrafting housewares out of found material, and founding local "hackerspaces"--are presented as a direct legacy of Fordist industrial production; doing-it-yourself, by this account, is something that Detroiters have "in their DNA." (38) While figures like Dougherty attempt to draw the values of small-scale makers back to Henry Ford "tinkering in his garage," the actual practices of "'making"--factory labor--that went into industrial auto production are entirely glossed over. There would seem to be little similarity between the deskilled, standardized labor on the Ford assembly line and the "making" involved in designing, finding materials for, and building a single one-of-a-kind vehicle from start to finish in your own backyard. Rather than articulating a kind of residual culture rooted in either Fordist manufacturing or pre-Fordist (small-scale and home-based) craft production, contemporary forms of making in Detroit reflect the subjective qualities and values of post-Fordism as individualized, creative, flexible (and unstable) work that shifts between labor and leisure. (39)

Post-Fordism is the "new age" of capitalism that has emerged since the mid-1970s, characterized by deindustrialization, the proliferation of flexible decentralized labor and production, a feminization of the work force, increasing emphasis on consumer choice based on lifestyle rather than social class, the "aestheticization of commodities," and the "commodification of aesthetics." (40) The transition from Fordism to post-Fordism has been marked by the passage from the production of mass-produced material goods to the production of nonmaterial goods and services and similarly, from material to immaterial or affective forms of labor. (41) Thus, whereas the male factory worker stood as the exemplary worker of the Fordist system, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri argue that this role has been displaced by the figure of immaterial labor "involved in communication, cooperation, and the production and reproduction of affects." (42) Rosalind Gill and Andy Pratt utilize the term precariat to describe this new labor power as "both an experience of exploitation and a (potential) new political subjectivity." (43) Similarly, I am interested in the labor of craft-making not simply as a mode of economic production but also as the production of particular political and social subjectivities. (44)

A number of the forty-some crafters with whom I spoke with informally at Detroit-area craft fairs mentioned that they also worked full- or part-time as bartenders, nannies, or even "social-media coordinators" at ad companies-jobs that seem to typify what Paulo Virno describes as post-Fordist "linguistic-virtuosic" labor. (45) In contrast to their other work, crafters seem to desire the bodily and material labor involved in, for example, spinning raw wool into yarn or knitting yarn into mittens. Sabrina Gschwandtner, the creator of the "new-wave" knitting zine KnitKnit, has argued that the knitting resurgence reveals that despite our dependence on the Internet, "'we are still sensual beings" who desire "a tactile relationship to the world." (46) Likewise, as a forty-eight-year-old maker of sculptural beads from suburban Detroit put it in her questionnaire response, making things by hand is important "because it provides a link to the past and keeps us human in these technologically suffocating times." (47) While for some crafters this desire for tactile and material making defines their leisure activities outside of work, the vendors at the Detroit Urban Craft Fair, for example, position their making as "'work" that subsidizes their income. Many hope to eventually make things--and blog about making things--full-time. (48)

While the vendors at the Detroit Urban Craft Fair expend material labor to produce the things they sell, their work is equally, if not more, dependent on the immaterial work of self-branding, marketing, and making and maintaining relationships in the craft community both online and off. To echo anthropologist Sasha David's work on the Hollywood talent industry, crafters sell their selves, their politics, and their interests in order to sell their crafts. (49) At the DUCE the crafters" goods are set up in front of them on a four-footlong table along with business cards, signage, and other promotional material; it is almost impossible to interact with the "goods" without in some ways interacting with the vendor who made them. As one questionnaire respondent (a thirty-two-year-old from suburban Michigan who purchased handmade goods but did not self-identify as a craft maker) put it: "Handmade things are more interesting, because they absorb some of the personality of the person making them." The self-branding and personalization of these crafted objects echo the myth of the singular artist, where the particularities and uniqueness of each piece are linked to the biographical history of the The selling of goods at the DUCE likewise, would often involve recounting stories of why the maker had first produced these objects and how these objects were in one way or another indivisible from the maker's unique experiences, interests, and social relationships. One woman, for example, sold handmade soap in the shape of grenades, she said, because her husband was a World War II reenactor/industrial designer who had made the molds for "battle" props. Another woman began selling "allergy awareness" buttons and T-shirts because her four-year-old grandson had severe peanut allergies. Vendors sold stationery, buttons, and silk-screened T-shirts that referenced their favorite bands, dialogue from cult films, or abandoned industrial landmarks of Detroit. In this context, shopping and vending at the craft fair constitute an intersubjective performance where vendors and shoppers alike are able to enact and assert their unique individualism through the exchange of crafted objects.

The process of bringing the domestic activity of knitting or sewing into the marketplace of a craft sale collapses the binary of labor time and nonlabor time; what crafters do for nonremunerated "leisure" is often the very same thing that they do to produce and sell items for profit. This reflects post-Fordist labor power more broadly, where "it is increasingly difficult to maintain the fiction of any measure of the working day and thus separate the time of production from the time of reproduction, or work time from leisure time." (51) The labor that goes into craft fairs and the online handmade marketplace of resonates with that of user-created virtual worlds like Second Life. (52) Anthropologist Tom Boellstorff describes the labor that goes into creating the emergent virtual world of Second Life as a kind of "creationist capitalism," where--like craftwork labor and production are conceived in terms of creativity, so that leisure and self-fulfillment become both the means and the product of this labor. (53) While the vast majority of crafters, like their Second Life counterparts, are unable to make a living wage--or often even subsidize the costs of their materials--at craft shows or by selling their wares online, it is not experienced as a form of Marxist "superexploitation." (54)

It is this logic of self-fulfilling labor that enables the Handmade Detroit organizers to work, as Vousden put it, "week in, week out, month in, month out," upward of thirty hours a week organizing craft events and doing

promotion without compensation, in addition to their own craft-making. Handmade Detroit organizers Mitchell and Vousden took up bartending to subsidize their lives as craft makers and organizers after quitting or being laid off from more stable work. This kind of DIY craftwork shares a lot of the qualities of post-Fordist cultural work: "long hours and bulimic patterns of working; the collapse or erasure of the boundaries between work and play; poor pay; high levels of mobility; passionate attachment to the work and to the identity of creative laborer; an attitudinal mindset that is a blend of bohemianism and entrepreneurialism." (55) This "passionate attachment" to the love of work, if cheap and unstable, creates a precarious labor pool for whom "social security [is] exchanged for so-called freedom." (56) Gill and Pratt argue that much of the optimism about immaterial and creative work focuses on the positive and affirmative affects of desire, sociality, pleasure, and fulfillment rather than nonaffirmative feelings that also accompany this kind of labor: fatigue, exhaustion, frustration, anxiety, and the "'individualized shame" from having the self completely bound up with one's work. (57) Mitchell, Vousden, and Davey all spoke of the anxieties they felt when not being "'productive" even in their so-called free time; as Vousden said, "Those flop-around days are such torture." They also all referred to the intense "burnout" they experienced, particularly after the holiday season craft fairs. If this kind of creative and flexible labor is in fact what is demanded of contemporary forms of capitalism, how are we to know when these subjective states and desires resist capital--either as a form of critical craftivist engagement or as part of the elementary and spontaneous communism that Hardt and Negri envision--rather than bind us to it at every level of our lives and being? (58)

Crafting Postfeminism: Craft, Femininits; and Neoliberal Rationalities

Tucked into the southwest corner of the grounds, the "'Craft" area of the Detroit Maker Faire stood in contrast to the masculinized spaces of robotics demos, hacked Power Wheel drag races, and the 'Army Technology Zone'" nearby. (59) With few exceptions the craft sale vendors, as well as the instructors and participants in the knitting, felting, and needlework demos, were women. In the Handmade Detroit craft tent, Lindsey Dolman's booth was set up under a gold hand-appliqued sign. To her right was a display of about a dozen handmade aprons--each one-of-a-kind, they were made from bright vintage floral fabric and contrasting trim. To her left, tiny shrink plastic depictions of the state of Michigan were hand-stitched onto floral fabric in wooden embroidery hoops. At the front of the booth were three decorative "buntings" made of vintage fabric and lace doilies. Like the dainty pink crocheted cupcakes and hand-stitched kitchen towels being sold at neighboring tables, Dolman's crafts appeared to encode a domestic femininity.

The discourse surrounding the craft resurgence has emphasized the creation of new forms of public sociality through bringing traditionally domestic handicrafts into casual "third spaces" (like bars and cafes, as well as craft fairs) quite unlike the professional and hierarchical spaces of craft guilds. (60) Discursively, this process of bringing traditionally devalued "'women's work" into the masculine "economic" realm has been positioned as a third-wave feminist endeavor. (61) Like the alternative monetary systems that anthropologist Bill Maurer writes about, the articulation of alternativeness in DIY discourse is tied to a "conjuring of the past," a nostalgia and melancholy for a "past that never was," before the division of economy and society and in the case of craft, before the abjection of the domestic and domestication. (62) Rather than situating contemporary articulations of craft-making as either a third-wave or postfeminist project--the latter often condemned third-wave feminists for being apolitical, lacking an organized politics, and producing "a retrogressive and reactionary conservatism"--I would argue that it is betwixt and between, ambivalently encoding both explicitly feminist politics and conservative feminine desires. (63) For this reason, craft appears to be a revealing standpoint from which to explore "the ever-changing plurality of positions and issues that constitute feminisms today." (64)

In her introduction to Get Crafty: Hip Home Ec, Jean Railla writes about how her second-wave feminist professors at the University of California, Los Angeles, had reasoned "that housework and the domestic arts were drudgery work done by women who don't know better. Smart, enlightened women became writers, thinkers; they became important, like men. They didn't have time for silly things like cooking, sewing, knitting or cleaning." (65) Bratich and Brush situate contemporary fabriculture within what they call the "new domesticity"; neither rejection nor reclamation, the new domesticity "does not transform old into new, it reweaves the old itself.... [It] is an affirmation of something that is no longer what we thought it was," specifically a symbol of female subordination and of devalued labor. (66) This revaluation of practices of feminine domesticity reflects a desire to mediate the abjection of the home and homemaker through second-wave feminist discourse. However, this desire for the prestige of the homemaker is often ambivalent, "parodied and presented as melancholic; a simulacrum of a past that never was rather than one to be re-created." (67) Dolman's aprons, for example, seem kitschy and ironic when posed next to her blue "'Mustache Prize" ribbons--gag gifts intended for those who have or admire facial hair.

Encoded in these kitschy vintage aprons, contemporary craftwork can be seen as a site of "postfemininity": a liminal space of pre- and postfeminist desires and choices that can no longer be conceptualized as "a split between feminism and housewifery, agency and victimization, work and family life." (68) Feminist scholar Stephanie Genz argues that postfemininity constitutes neither a radical break from "old-fashioned'" philocentric femininity nor complete continuity but, rather, something much more ambiguous and hard to pin down. It is informed by "the stereotypes of womanhood propagated by a misogynistic, patriarchal culture but also a feminist 'raised" consciousness and critique of these images, a postmodern awareness of gender deconstruction as well as a neoliberal belief in the autonomous individual." (69) As Genz argues, postfeminism and postfemininity emerging since the nineties privilege individualistic assertions of choice and self-rule, primarily constructed through consumption, rather than the collective, activist struggle that informed second-wave feminism. (70) Following Rosalind Gilk, rather than an epistemological position or historical shift, it seems more fruitful to situate postfeminism and postfemininity in terms of sensibilities or subjectivities; (71) at the core of this sensibility are "notions of choice, of 'being oneself' and 'pleasing oneself.'" (72)

The postfeminist desires for pleasure and self-improvement seem to justify the low-paying precarious work that goes into selling handmade goods as well as cultural work more broadly." In a 2009 article from an online women's lifestyle magazine, Double X, Sarah Mosle argues that (the online marketplace of handmade goods) "peddles a false feminist fantasy" to the women who make up 96 percent of its sellers. According to Mosle, "What Etsy is really peddling isn't only handicrafts, but also the feminist promise that you can have a family and create hip arts and crafts from home during flexible, reasonable hours while still having a respectable, fulfilling, and remunerative career"; this promise, she argues, is an untenable fantasy. (74) A 2009 New York Times article entitled "'That Hobby Looks Like a Lot of Work" reveals that the most successful Etsy sellers, some of whom have made over $100,000 a year, are only able to do so by working upward of sixteen hours a day and by paying themselves far less than minimum wage for their labor." Writing about the precarity of cultural or creative work, Gill and Pratt argue that affective desires for pleasure and self-fulfillment generate consent for working fives that "'without this emotional and symbolic sheen, might appear arduous, tiring and exploitative." (76) It is surprising, then, that no ethnographic and little theoretical work has been done to engage the individualist politics of postfeminism and the ways in which the desire for pleasurable, creative work might produce forms of self-exploitation and precarious labor that best serve the interest of post-Fordist capitalism. (77)

The core values of "autonomy, choice and self-improvement" encoded in the very language of "Do-It-Yourself" speak not only to a postfeminist subjectivity but to the central values of neoliberalism. (78) As David Harvey defines it, "Neoliberalism is in the first instance a theory of political economic practices that propose that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade." (79) In this framework "each individual is held responsible and accountable for his or her own actions and well-being," and "individual success or failure is interpreted in terms of entrepreneurial virtues or personal failings ... rather than being attributed to any systemic property." (80) The rhetoric and political possibilities of making in Detroit, and of contemporary urban activism more broadly, are shaped by this neoliberal rationality. Sociologist Julie Guthman, for example, has revealed how contemporary food activism in California intersects with neoliberal rationalities through the celebration of consumer choice, localism, entrepreneurialism, and self-improvement-all themes that resonate deeply with the politics of DIY. (81) The discourse of DIY, like that of food politics, has "contributed to neoliberal subjects ruled not through society but through regulated choices and aspirations to self-actualization and fulfillment." (82)

The connection between this neoliberal logic of doing-it-yourself and postfeminist politics in Detroit was articulated clearly by Handmade Detroit member Allison Davey:
   I am looking forward to being a postfeminist [laughs]. I mean I
   don't really practice, like, feminism. But ... I was really like an
   activist before, but feeling like that is really lonely, you know,
   in a way. Like you have to feel superior, like feel like you know
   the right way. Have all of these missions that you like put
   yourself on. I got really sick of that. Like, really sick of that
   ... that liberal superiority crap. And I do think of craft as like
   a movement for me, and I do kind of think of it as activism. But in
   a way it's different. It's much more personal, and it's much more
   about creating the life you want. Like, I live in the suburbs, and
   I don't really have a community.... [H]ow am I going to create
   that? And like how am I going to help people that I care about? So
   it's not really about femininity and all that stuff, but I feel
   like that is a part of me. So this is like low-level feminist
   politics. I was a women's studies minor, in college, and I just got
   really sick of women [laughs]. And like playing the victim and like
   ... nobody needs to be that angry. I may not be able to change the
   world, but I can make my life better, and that might be really
   selfish, but I don't care. (83)

Here there are elements of what some critics of postfeminism have described as a backlash against (second-wave) feminism--a frustration or exhaustion with "being angry" and "playing the victim." (84) More significantly, while she does position "craft" as a kind of activism, rather than aimed at collective social change, Davey's "low-level feminist politics" is focused at crafting a better self and more pleasurable life for the individual. Similarly, when asked how political or ethical values informed the things she made, a forty-year-old questionnaire respondent stated that her crafts "are mostly utilitarian, or an expression of some color or form I love. Very rarely does politics come into play. Even though I grow veggies, it's mostly for my own pleasure. Although, I do totally support organic, local, anti-commercialized production, what I do, I do for me." (85) For this woman, the seemingly political aspects to rejecting commercially produced foods and goods by doing-it-herself were downplayed and even discounted; the things she made were not guided by an explicit political consciousness or some kind of solidarity for greater societal change but, rather, for individualized pleasure and personal satisfaction.

In a Make: Online Blog post from July 29, 2010, entitled "Detroit Is the Freedom to Make Things," Detroit clothing designer Bethany Shorb places the future of the city entirely within the hands of local entrepreneurs: "Detroit does not need a 'savior'--whether it be a casino, government entity, or another massive corporation to take over and dole out short-lived handouts.

Detroit will re-invent itself and prosper through the help of makers, thinkers, and entrepreneurs who thrive while operating on a lean budget, without the bloat that has caused the demise of many of our once-venerated large corporations." (86) While espousing an anticorporate view, Shorb locates the solution to the city's social problems entirely within the mechanism of the creative market. Just as in food activism, this entrepreneurism has the (unintended) effect of depoliticizing the structural socioeconomic problems in the city by rendering them as individual responsibility. (87) Bracketed by and through individualistic desires for pleasure, (consumer) choice, and autonomy, this imagined "handmade" city is not a radical site of new or unlimited social and political possibilities--particularly for the individuals and communities excluded or marginalized by these discourses--but, rather, stands to replicate the neoliberal values and serve the interests of post-Fordist capital, which it seems at first to confront.

Conclusion: Crafting a Politics of the Possible

Informed by fieldwork conducted at the Detroit Urban Craft Faire and the first Maker Faire Detroit, I have situated craftwork, making, and do-it- yourself within the wider discourse of Detroit as a utopic blank canvas or urban frontier waiting to be colonized by an emergent creative class. As this venerated creative class is predominately white and middle class, the discourse of recrafting Detroit subsumes exclusionary racial politics in aesthetic concerns, bringing into question its potential as a site for and means to wider social and political change. I described how contemporary craftwork produces post-Fordist labor subjectivities through the blurring of labor and leisure. As my research has focused on the feminized and "domestic" forms of making, "crafting," sewing, needlepoint, knitting, and so on, I have argued that the structure of feeling surrounding crafting is encoded with postfeminist values of pleasure, autonomy, and self-improvement that serve to justify what might otherwise be seen as exploitative, precarious work. These values, particularly as the basis for social and political engagement in Detroit, can be seen as replicating the rationalities of neoliberalism that serve to further reinforce structural inequalities in the city. As a maker myself, it is not my intention to discount or malign the values and desires of craft makers--in my own life craftwork has provided a relaxing, pleasant, and meaningful respite from academia and service work. Rather, I have attempted to critically engage how the underlying post-Fordist, postfeminist, and neoliberal values shape the rhetoric of making and of the "politically possible" in Detroit. (88) My hope is that denaturalizing the neoliberal underpinnings of these discourses--and questioning their exclusionary practices--might allow for the forging of more inclusive communities and radical labor solidarities both within and beyond the city of Detroit.


(1.) I conducted participant observation at the Detroit Urban Craft Faire, Detroit Maker Faire, and Detroit-area stores that sold locally crafted goods for a total of three weeks between 2009 and 2010. In February 2010, I conducted semistructured interviews with three of the five members of Handmade Detroit. In January 2010, I created an online questionnaire called "Handmaking in Detroit," which was circulated through online networking sites and through the Handmade Detroit Web site; I received fifty- five responses. The questionnaire contained twenty-three open-ended questions. In addition to demographic information, the questions asked what respondents found meaningful about making things, how they distinguished making from other kinds of work they do or have done, whether they are inspired to "make" full-time, how they became aware of a craft community in Detroit, what impact (if any) they felt the D.I.Y community has had in shaping the city of Detroit, and if they felt that the "handmade" culture in Detroit was racially "white." This fieldwork was made possible by a University of Toronto Department of Anthropology Research Grant.

(2.) For a discussion of how needlework has been implicated in and constitutive of notions of femininity in the twentieth century, see Rozsika Parker, The Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine (New York: I. B. Tauris, 2010). For a discussion of gender and the contemporary knitting resurgence, see Alla Myzelev, "'Whip Your Hobby into Shape: Knitting, Feminism, and Construction of Gender," Textile 7, no. 1 (2009): 148-63.

(3.) See Tom Crook, "Craft and the Dialogics of Modernity: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Late-Victorian Edwardian England," Journal of Modern Craft 2 (2009): 17-32.

(4.) Paulo Virno, A Grammar of the Multitude (Los Angeles: Semiotext[e], 2004).

(5.) Julie Guthman, "Neoliberalism and the Making of Food Politics in California," Geoforum 39 (2008): 1171-83.

(6.) Stella Minahan and Julie Wolfram Cox, "Stitch'nBitch: Cyberfeminism, a Third Place, and the New Materiality," Journal of Material Culture 12 (2007): 13.

(7.) Raymond Williams, Marxism and Literature (New York: Oxford, 1977), 131.

(8.) Minahan and Cox, "Stitch'nBitch."

(9.) Jack Bratich and Heidi Brush, "Craftivity Narratives: Fabriculture, Affective Labor, and the New Domesticity," paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association, San Francisco, May 24, 2007.

(10.) Ibid., 27; Sadie Plant, Zeros and Ones: Digital Women and the New Technoculture (London: Fourth Estate, 1997); Kirsty Robertson, "The Viral Knitting Project and Writing on the Wool," N.paradoxa (Activist Art) 23 (2009): 56-61. Plant suggests, in her "machinist" account of Ada Lovelace (collaborator on the first analog computer), that binary code has its origin in knit and purl stitches; Robertson has looked at how contemporary artists have taken up the connections between crafting and informatics.

(11.) Michael Hardt, 'Affective Labor," Boundary 2 26 (1999): 89-100.

(12.) See Joao Biehl, Byron Good, and Arthur Kleinman, "Introduction: Rethinking Subjectivity," in Subjectivity: Ethnographic Investigations (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), 1-23.

(13.) Bob Herbert, "An American Catastrophe," New York Times, November 20, 2009.

(14.) George Steinmetz, "Detroit: A Tale of Two Crises," Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 27 (2009): 763.

(15.) Ibid., 766.

(16.) Tim Edensor, Industrial Ruins: Space, Aesthetics, and Materiality (Oxford: Berg, 2005), 14.

(17.) Rose Macauley, The Pleasure of Ruins (New York: Walker, 1967).

(18.) Michael Roth, Claire Lyons, and Charles Merewether, Irresistible Decay: Ruins Reclaimed (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 1997).

(19.) Edensor, Industrial Ruins.

(20.) Richard Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community, and Everyday Life (New York: Perseus Book Group, 2002).

(21.) From "Friday Five," Design Milk Blog, April 23, 2010,

(22.) Melena Ryzik, "Wringing Art Out of the Rubble in Detroit," New York Times, August 3, 2010, accessed January 13, 2011, design/04maker.html.

(23.) Yael Navaro-Yashin, "'Life Is Dead Here': Sensing the Political in 'No Man's Land,'" Anthropological Theory 3 (2003): 107-25.

(24.) Grant Kester, 'Aesthetic Evangelists: Conversion and Empowerment in Contemporary Community Art," Afterimage 22, no. 6 (1995): 5-11

(25.) Jamie Peck, "Struggling with the Creative Class," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 29 (2005): 740-71. See also P. Maliszewski, "Flexibility and Its Discontents," The Baffler 16 (2004): 69-79.

(26.) Rick Prelinger, August 4, 2010 (3:46 p.m.), comment on Ryzik, "'Wringing Art Out of the Rubble in Detroit."

(27.) Ryzik, "Wringing Art Out of the Rubble in Detroit."

(28.) Respondent self-identified as female, forty-eight, "white," from suburban Detroit.

(29.) All names are pseudonyms.

(30.) This interview was conducted in February 2009 as part of an ethnographic study of the Toronto crafter community The craft fair organizers in Toronto whom l spoke with expressed similar justifications for excluding what they saw as "'ethnically" marked craft applications from the events they curated. While Toronto is known as a muhicultural city, attendees and vendors of the craft events I attended were, as in Detroit, almost exclusively white.

(31.) John Hartigan Jr., Odd Tribes: Toward a Cultural Analysis of White People (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005), 9.

(32.) The craft forum slogan, for example, is "'No Tea Cosies Without Irony"

(33.) Hartigan, Odd Tribes, 7.

(34.) Allison Davey (Handmade Detroit member and Detroit Urban Craft Fair organizer), in conversation with the author, February 2010.

(35.) Hartigan, Odd Tribes, 21.

(36.) Dale Dougherty, "Making Detroit: Changing the Story," Make: Online Blog, July 22, 2010, archive/2010/07/making-detroit.html.

(37.) B.J. Hammerstein, "Maker Faire Puts the Spotlight on Creativity," Detroit Free Press, July 29, 2010.

(38.) Ryzik, "'Wringing Art Out of the Rubble in Detroit."

(39.) Williams, Marxism and Literature.

(40.) Ash Amin, "Post-Fordism: Models, Fantasies, and Phantoms of Transition," in Post-Fordism: A Reader, ed. Ash Amin (Oxford: Blackwell, 1994), 31.

(41.) Pascal Gielen, The Murmuring of the Artistic Multitude: Global Art, Memory, and Post-Fordism (Valiz, Amsterdam: Antennae, 2010), 18.

(42.) Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000), 53.

(43.) Rosalind Gill and Andy Pratt, "In the Social Factory? Immaterial Labor, Precariousness, and Cultural Work," Theory, Culture, and Society 25 (2008): 3.

(44.) Hardt and Negri, Empire, xvii.

(45.) Virno, Grammar of the Multitude, 58.

(46.) Sabrina Gschwandtner, "Sabrina Gschwandtner: KnitKnit," in Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIE Art, Craft, and Design, ed. Faythe Levine and Courtney Heimerl (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2008), 26.

(47.) Similarly, the Church of Craft was established in Los Angeles in 2000 around the spiritual significance of making things by hand. According to the Reverend Callie Jannoff, on the organization's Web site, "Our consumption plagues our quiet lives, filling it with broadcast noise and boxes of macaroni and cheese. But when we make something, we are filled with satisfaction, the kind you feel to your core" (http://churchofcraft. org/a-sermon-simple-and-captivating/).

(48.) Ironically, the materiality of handmaking is always in some way mediated by the virtual. On November 20, 2009, the night before the Detroit Urban Craft Fair, Handmade Detroit held a "tweet-up" for vendors to get together at a local bar and socialize. On the stage, they had set up supplies so that attendees could make three-inch round buttons of their Twitter aliases. In between fries, sliders, and pints of beer, everyone simultaneously tweeted via their smart phones about what was going on. The next morning, one vendor (who was text messaging a friend vending at a Chicago craft fair) remarked that she knew it had been a successful morning at the DUCF because she hadn't had time to "tweet" about it yet.

(49.) Sasha David, "Self for Sale: Notes on the Work of Hollywood Talent Managers," Anthropology of Work Review 28, no. 3 (2007): 6-16.

(50.) Gielen, Murmuring of the Artistic Multitude, 213.

(51.) Hardt and Negri, Empire, 402-3.

(52.) Tom Boellstorff, Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008), 213.

(53.) In the Second Life virtual world, users retain copyright and are able to sell the virtual content they generate (clothes, hairstyles, furniture, etc.) for "real"- world profit. However, in order to "own" land and have access to virtual materials (called "prims") residents must pay membership fees to the Linden Labs Corporation. Boellstorff, Coming of Age in Second Life, 213.

(54.) Ibid.

(55.) Gill and Pratt, "In the Social Factory?" 14.

(56.) Gielen, Murmuring of the Artistic Multitude, 53.

(57.) Gill and Pratt, "In the Social Factory?" 16.

(58.) Ibid., 19-21.

(59.) The U.S. Army's Research, Development, and Engineering Command was present at the Maker Faire, displaying military vehicles, advances in energy-storage devices, and robotics and conducting an interactive robotics competition for Maker Faire participants. Like the corporate presence of Ford, the inclusion and celebration of military technology struck me as incongruent with the otherwise self-proclaimed environmental, local, and anticorporate exhibitions.

(60.) Minahan and Cox, "Stitch'nBitch."

(61.) See, for example, Myzelev, "Whip Your Hobby into Shape."

(62.) Bill Maurer, Mutual Life, Limited: Islamic Banking, Alternative Currencies, Lateral Reason (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), 95.

(63.) Stephanie Genz, Postfeminities in Popular Culture (Houndmills, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 336.

(64.) Ann Braithwaite, "The Personal, the Political, Third-Wave, and Postfeminisms," Feminist Theory 3, no. 3 (2002): 342.

(65.) Jean Railla, Get Crafty: Hip Home Ec (New York: Broadway, 2004), 2.

(66.) Bratich and Brush, "Craftivity Narratives," 8.

(67.) Minahan and Cox, "Stitch'nBitch," 17.

(68.) Stacey Gillis and Joanne Hollows, eds., Feminism, Domesticity, and Popular Culture (New York: Routledge, 2009), 53.

(69.) Genz, Postfeminities in Popular Culture, 33-34.

(70.) Ibid., 85.

(71.) Rosalind Gilk, "Postfeminist Media Culture: Elements of a Sensibility," European Journal of Cultural Studies 10 (2007): 147-67.

(72.) Genz, Postfeminities in Popular Culture, 153.

(73.) Gill and Pratt, "In the Social Factory?"

(74.) Sara Mosle, " Peddles a False Feminist Fantasy," Double X, Work blog, June 10, 2009, accessed September 9, 2010, etsycom-peddles-false-feminist-fantasy.

(75.) Alex Williams, "That Hobby Looks Like a Lot of Work," New York Times, December 16, 2009, accessed August 12, 2010, 17/fashion/17etsy.html.

(76.) Gill and Pratt, "In the Social Factory?" 17.

(77.) Research on the gendering of post-Fordist labor has generally focused on the increase of women's growing significance as marginal workers, particularly in the context of the capitalization of caring and domestic work. See, for example, Lina McDowell, "Life Without Father and Ford: The New Gender Order of Post-Fordism," Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 16 (1991): 40-19; and Andrea Wigfield, Post-Fordism, Gender, and Work (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001).

(78.) Gilk, "Postfeminist Media Culture," 163.

(79.) David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 2.

(80.) Ibid., 64-65.

(81.) Guthman, "Neoliberalism and the Making of Food Politics in California," 1176.

(82.) Ibid.

(83.) Davey, in conversation with the author, February 2010.

(84.) See Susan Faludi, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women (New York: Crown, 1991).

(85.) Notably, eleven out of the fifty-five respondents said that their political or ethical values did not inform the things that they made or how they made them. Respondents who said that their political or ethical values did inform the things they made cited, to summarize, using reclaimed or environmentally friendly materials and processes, believing in fair wages or buying from fair-trade sources, using vegan materials, and supporting smaller, local economies rather than large corporations. Interestingly, many of these same values were not necessarily perceived to be politically or ethically motivated.

(86.) Bethany Shorb, "Detroit Is the Freedom to Make Things," Make. Online Blog, July 29, 2010, archive/2010/07/freedom-to-make-things.html.

(87.) Guthman, "Neoliberalism and the Making of Food Politics in California," 1176.

(88.) Ibid.
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Date:Jul 1, 2011
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