Theme: “DIY: Culture, Ethics, Aesthetics”

Next issue: FIFTH ESTATE #384 Winter 2011

Maybe the most persistent of all forms of external authority in our lives are the day-to-day tyrannies of specialists and experts. The Fifth Estate’s next issue investigates strategies of resistance to and liberation from this insidious system of technocratic mystification and domination with a look at the culture, ethics, and aesthetics of do-it-yourselfism.

Is DIY a creator-centered cultural activity intended to build a community? Or, is it self-centered and self-serving? Is it subversive intervention or counter-cultural lifestylism? Is it political, apolitical, or antipolitical? What are the relationships between do-it-yourselfist practice, radical free expression, creativity, and pleasure? Is DIY the cornerstone of autonomy?

Other possible topics may include:

  • folk knowledge, informal learning spaces, mutual aid skill-sharing

  • guerrilla arts-‘n’-crafts

  • homespun alternatives to mass production & consumption

  • participatory journalism & pirate broadcasting

  • outsider art, lo-fi music, folk architecture

  • wildcat communal clusters, squats, & intentional communities

  • raves, Reclaim the Street parties, Critical Mass swarms, flash-mobs, guerrilla gigs

  • home remedies, alternative medicines, underground clinics, folk science

  • astroturf movements (public-relations viral marketing;

  • Working Families for Wal-Mart;

  • MoveOn;

  • Tea Party) faking spontaneous, grassroots connections in order to counterfeit authentic, popular appeal

  • the histories & futures of DIY

Please submit manuscripts for short pieces and proposals for longer essays, along with graphics and photographs to: fe — at — or

FIFTH ESTATE, POB 201016, Ferndale, MI 48220

Deadline: SEPTEMBER 1

Publication date: OCTOBER 15