The popular pursuit of DIY: Exploring the role of calculative technologies in an actor network

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This paper seeks to explain the popular growth in DIY activity through the theoretical lens of Callon’s (1986) four moments of translation. This framing facilitates an understanding of the process by which DIY changed from an activity driven by economic necessity to a popular recreational pastime. The paper draws on empirical sources from the 1950s, a key moment in which DIY was embraced by the mass populace. A particular source of reference is the specialist DIY magazines which begin to appear during this decade. Through an ANT (actor network theory) lens, the empirical material illustrates how several diverse actors came together through a process of translation, mobilising a network of forces to promote DIY activity. Following Skærbæk and Melander (2004), the paper suggests the role of accounting, and calculative practices more generally, as interessement devices in this process. The labour cost saving associated with DIY acts as an important interface between actors in the network. Calculative technologies can therefore be seen as a central part of the process through which DIY becomes established as a popular pursuit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-109
JournalManagement Accounting Research
Early online date10 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • ANT
  • labour cost
  • actor network theory
  • DIY
  • Callon
  • Do It Yourself


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