At present, Do-It-Yourself culture (DIY) is generally understood as part of the Czech national identity and a Czech national feature, which reflects the nation´s specific historical experience and national memory. Although DIY as a Czech national feature refers to the everyday experience under state socialism and particularly normalisation (1970s and 1980s) its roots are deeper. The goal of this project is to render and map the present forms of DIY and its history locating DIY in its broad social, cultural, historical and political context. The outcomes will subsequently be presented to the general public. At the same time, the project aims at assessing the DIY potential for developing local communities, raising their historical and local consciousness, and developing tourism.
The project has six goals: to provide a structured definition of DIY encompassing its private and public dimensions (how DIY objects affect genius loci) and categorise the outcomes of DIY; to map public DIY objects in two socially and economically divergent regions; to assess possibilities for cataloguing and protecting DIY objects; to strengthen local communities' awareness of the importance of DIY and its outcomes via exhibitions and an information website - this will strengthen local communities and give them a chance to express their relation to the DIY phenomenon; to situate DIY and its transformations in the context of social, historical and political developments in the Czech Republic (Czechoslovakia) with reference to the wide geopolitical context and analyse its changes and their impact on personal as well as Czech national identity; to present DIY to the general public including its complex history as a phenomenon that reflects changes to everyday life in the recent past and at present, and may improve the understanding of social transformations that have taken place in the Czech Republic in the previous decades.
Project publications (total 7, displaying 1 - 7)
Even though the DIY movement is starting to garner more attention from scholars abroad, it has yet to receive much attention from Czech scholars. The book DIY: a fine mosaic of self-led making represents an effort to bridge that gap at least in part, and to offer the first comprehensive view of DIY (kutilství in Czech) as an intriguing phenomenon that is practiced extensively and which has a distinct history and vibrant presence.
Petr Vašát (PV): Maria, first of all, thank you for meeting with me. For our interview, I have prepared questions spanning from informal urbanism to building techniques to politics. Some of these questions are more related to research, while some are more about urban development. However, let’s start with your beginnings. I have discovered that you started to study informal urbanism in Montevideo in the 90s, 1997 to be exact, which is a pretty long time ago. So, how did it all begin?
Kutilství jako svépomocná tvorba nejběžnějších praktických, nejrůznějších dekorativních i neobvyklých specializovaných předmětů představuje nedílnou součást moderní společnosti. Když se pozorně rozhlédneme, nalezneme stopy kutilství všude kolem nás, v domácnostech, na zahradách i ve veřejném prostoru. Kutilství má mnoho podob a patří do něj nejrůznější manuální výrobní činnosti, které mohou z řady důvodů vykonávat v různých situacích různí lidé s různou mírou znalostí a zkušeností.
The book Bricolage: From “self-led manual projects” to DIY connects bricolage (kutilství) with broad questions regarding today´s society, its development and change. It treats bricolage as a topic and research terrain that allows us to shed new light on these issues. The book shows what makes bricolage interesting for social sciences not (just) per se but as a means to understanding today´s pressing issues.
Self-help housing has been proposed as a solution to provide qualitatively adequate and affordable housing not only nowadays, but also during the late state socialism in the 1970s and 1980s in the for- mer Czechoslovakia. In this article, we focus on how the self-help housing provision was during that era linked with the responsibilisation of households, a technique of governance usually associated with neoliberal regimes.