Advisor

Gerry Sussman

Date of Award

Spring 6-3-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies

Department

Urban Studies and Planning

Physical Description

1 online resource (x, 288 pages)

Subjects

Maker movement -- Oregon -- Portland, Maker movement -- Michigan -- Detroit, Branding (Marketing), Identity (Philosophical concept)

DOI

10.15760/etd.6876

Abstract

This dissertation explores the maker economy and culture in Detroit, MI and Portland, OR and queries the "Made in Place" branding strategy that relies so heavily on a shared imagination of cities, identities, and values. Bridging the gap between urban economic development, political economy, and affect theory, this dissertation is centrally concerned with how imagination works as a commons and how such "imaginaries" shape each city's milieu of small, entrepreneurial, artisanal producers ("makers"). The constituent elements of "Made in" branding "made" and "place" suggest common understandings of each; this sense of coherence is critical for how value is added to a maker's product. Rather than coherence, however, my data revealed a great deal of tension and ambiguity: how can something be coherent, ambiguous, and mobilized as economic value all at the same time? I answer this question by analyzing data from over 70 interviews with makers in Detroit and Portland, two cities experiencing rapid development and perceptive shifts from "old" to "new." I conclude that the various imaginaries so critical to "Made in Place" branding suggest not just economic rationality, but also a desire for stability in a turbulent world. Theoretically informed by Lauren Berlant, Gilles Deleuze, and Walter Benjamin, I argue that makers' imaginaries of identity, value, and place provide a collective sense of grounding amidst the flux of transition and uncertainty.

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/28998

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