The political power of 3D printing

10 10 2012

Here is a draft version of a paper to be presented at the Millennium Annual Conference 2012 on “Materialism and World Politics” (Saturday 20 – Monday 22 October 2012, London School of Economics & Political Science)

Comments are welcome.

Additive manufacturing as global remanufacturing of politics?


There is a growing interest in 3-D printers because of the technical and economic implications they could have. The objective of this paper is to take the analysis even further by wondering if, as they could interfere in the material practices of production and consumption, they could not also have effects in a more political register. The first part of this contribution consists of re-examining the promises associated with this technology and highlights the implications of this technology as a possible way to restoring individual and collective capabilities (I). Secondly, the ways in which these machines could destabilize the industrial bases of contemporary societies, and therefore the economic order, are examined, along with the political implications of such a shift (II). Finally, the points of friction that these technological developments may encounter and that might affect future trajectories are clarified (III).

=> download the paper




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