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Product, Competence, Project and Practice DIY and the dynamics of craft consumption

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date03/2008
JournalJournal of Consumer Culture
Number of pages21
Original languageEnglish


Studies of ordinary (as distinct from spectacular) forms of consumption have generated new questions and new ways of thinking about mechanisms and processes of change and about the conceptual status of consumer goods. No longer exclusively framed as semiotic resources deployed in the expression and reproduction of identities and social relations, products are increasingly viewed as essential ingredients in the effective accomplishment of everyday life.

In this article, we examine the recursive relation between products, projects and practices with reference to do-it-yourself (DIY) and home improvement - an important area of craft consumption and a field in which consumers are actively and creatively engaged in integrating and transforming complex arrays of material goods. Interviews with DIY practitioners and retailers point to a circuit of interdependent relations between the hardware of consumption (tools, materials, etc.); distributions of competence (between humans and non-humans); the emergence of consumer projects and, with them, new patterns of demand. In elaborating on these practical and theoretical linkages we develop an analysis of the material dynamics of craft consumption that bridges approaches rooted in science studies, material culture and consumption.