Malcolm M. Renfrew Interdisciplinary Colloquium Web Archive

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MRIC 2009/10

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Jodie Nicotra & Rochelle Smith
Assistant Professor, English & Assistant Professor, Library
April 13 - Idaho Commons Whitewater Room
12:30 pm

Abstract: Prompted by the current economic crisis, the concomitant loss of faith in traditional economic institutions, and the increasing rejection of the dominant tropes of consumer capitalism (planned obsolescence, waste, convenience, efficiency, anonymity), the DIY ethic can be seen in everything from the overhaul of domestic economies (the renewed interest, especially among young people, in backyard gardens, sewing and knitting, cooking “from scratch,” barter economies, and crafting products from recycled household materials) to the rise in popularity of websites like,, and We look at gleaners and “upcyclers,” particular manifestations of this resurgence, both groups seeking to change their relationships to the consumption and waste that are hallmarks of late capitalist western society, both groups challenging and in some ways reinforcing dominant paradigms. We particularly wish to investigate the narratives that these practitioners construct about themselves in relation to the mainstream economy, and the communication technologies that foster the spread of these narratives.
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