“It might be rubbish, but it’s my rubbish”: How the Makers of Cigar Box Guitars Resist Throwaway Culture

ATKINSON, Paul (2020). “It might be rubbish, but it’s my rubbish”: How the Makers of Cigar Box Guitars Resist Throwaway Culture. Journal of Sustainability Research.

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This paper analyses ethnographic research carried out into the activities of a particular group of makers whose DIY activities are centred on the creation, dissemination and performance of home-made musical instruments in the form of cigar box guitars. From a series of semi-structured, in-depth interviews, it emerged that these objects are almost exclusively based on notions of recycling, reuse and repurposing, and as such extend the life of component parts that would otherwise be discarded. Also, as hand-crafted labours of love, the resulting instruments are often the focus of strong emotional bonds to their makers, and are used for extended periods, being added to, altered and reconfigured over time as new components become available and the makers’ skills improve. For many makers, partaking in this activity has been their first foray into creative production of any kind, and often, they need to find solutions to problems they encounter in the process of making of their instruments. As a consequence of the usually very solitary nature of the activity, these makers make extensive use of online forums and networks to become part of a community of practice, openly sharing their knowledge and experience to help each other, and to celebrate their achievements of productive labour. It is argued that the ‘magic’ of the instruments produced and the support of a social media network is directly linked to the extension of product lifetimes of the objects made.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 05 Environmental Sciences; 12 Built Environment and Design; 16 Studies in Human Society
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.20900/jsr20200038
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2020 11:33
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2021 21:31
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/27276

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