Liliana Gil Sousa

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

New School U.

Grant number

Gr. 9744

Approve Date

October 23, 2018

Project Title

Russo de Sousa, Liliana G., New School for Social Research, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Make-do Innovation: Reconfiguring Technological Improvisation in Brazil,' supervised by Dr. Hugh Raffles

LILIANA GIL RUSSO DE SOUSA, then a graduate student at The New School, New York, New York, was awarded funding in October 2018 to aid research on ‘Make-do Innovation: Reconfiguring Technological Improvisation in Brazil,’ supervised by Dr. Hugh Raffles. The main goal of this project is to conduct ethnographic research about practices and discourses of improvisation in contexts of technological production. Attending to the centrality of improvisation in recent debates about innovation from the global South, the project focuses on the specific case of Brazil, building upon its rich intellectual traditions and material practices engaging ‘making-do’ as a socially and politically saturated phenomenon. Drawing on conceptual and methodological tools from anthropology and science and technology studies, the project details how improvisation has been contextually (and at times contradictorily0 thought, performed, and valued by a range of actors: staff and users of a community-oriented fabrication laboratory; activists engaged in repair rights and digital inclusion; policymakers invested in promoting innovation; and technicians working on electronics maintenance and manufacturing. By examining the relationship between improvisation and technological production across spheres of expertise, this project offers a critical reflection on technological improvisation as both a material practice and a contemporary political-economic project with implications for scholarly and public debates on sustainable design, inclusive innovation, repair economies, and (un)skilled labor.