Les makerspaces en Afrique francophone, entre développement local durable et technocolonialité : trois études de cas au Burkina Faso, au Cameroun et au Sénégal

Authors: Mboa Nkoudou, Thomas Hervé
Advisor: Piron, FlorenceLatzko-Toth, Guillaume
Abstract: Over the last decade, many Western countries have seen their public spheres populated by the collaborative, open and shared manufacturing spaces, broadly known as makerspaces. Often described as vehicles of social change and industrialization, the idea of makerspaces has been rapidly exported from the West to the rest of the world and in Africa specifically. Regarding this expansion, I wondered about the societal purposes and neutrality of these collaborative spaces in the African context. Prior to address these questions, it is important to establish a common framework understand the socio-historical and economic context of Africa. That is why, inspired by decolonial studies, I have drawn a conceptual framework consisting of technocoloniality and sustainable local development. In order to do so, I first deconstructed the current dominant paradigm of development approaches, namely the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Then, in the light of the work on cognitive justice, I reconstructed and presented the idea of sustainable local development as relevant for Africa, and as an alternative to SDGs. The dimensions of sustainable local development are : the quest for cognitive justice, the informal economy, common goods, inclusion and empowerment, African alternative thinking and social innovation. Then, on the basis of coloniality and the colonial matrix of power, I presented the idea of technocoloniality and its dimensions which are: techno-utopic discourse, neo-capitalist practices and the coloniality of knowledge linked to technology transfer. This conceptual framework allowed me to refine my questioning in the following research question: to what kind of development do makerspaces contribute in Francophone Africa? Specifically, the question is whether collaborative spaces can really contribute to sustainable local development in Africa or whether they contribute to strengthening technocoloniality. To answer these questions, I conducted three case studies in Francophone Africa: the Ouagalab in Burkina Faso, the Ongola Fablab in Cameroon and the Defko Ak Niep Lab in Senegal. For each case, I collected data using a combination of three methods: participant observation, semi-structuredi nterviews with makerspaces members and promoters, and content analysis. After processing data, I conducted a qualitative analysis using Nvivo software. The different categories of my analysis were then compared and interpreted using the previously constructed conceptual framework. My study revealed that makerspaces are commons that fight against cognitive injustice, ensure the flowering of knowledge, promote inclusion and empowerment of members, and catalyse social innovation. In other words, the dynamics within collaborative manufacturing spaces are highly conducive to sustainable local development. Above all, makerspaces display women's dynamism and leadership, since they allow them to fight injustices and biases they used to face in the society and places related to STEM (Science-Technology- Engineering and Mathematics). However, the management of makerspaces as an entity is highly exposed to technocoloniality. This severely hinders the internal dynamics and thus their contribution to sustainable local development. But if the different actors involved in the makerspace ecosystem take into account some factors, makerspaces would bring a lot of benefits to sustainable local development of Africa. That is why at the end of this thesis, we made some suggestions.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2020
Open Access Date: 21 December 2020
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/67577
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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