Do it yourself

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Do it yourself [ ˌduːɪtjəˈsɛlf ] (short DIY and DIY ) is a phrase from English and translated means do it yourself . The phrase is basically used to describe activities that are carried out by amateurs without professional help. The slogan is used particularly frequently in everyday cultural contexts in connection with do-it- yourself work such as repairing, improving, reusing or manufacturing.

The following concepts can be clearly distinguished:

  • DIY movements
  • the name of an important branch of hardware stores and tool manufacturers
  • the concept of a set of aesthetic-ethical principles of alternative music
  • a category of subversive practices.

Origin and Distribution

Crass concert 1984

The DIY movement emerged in the 1950s under the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement in England and quickly conquered the continent.

In the late 1970s and 1980s - based on bands like Crass and others - an anarcho and hardcore punk movement emerged from it, which turned away from the no future . Today these tendencies can be roughly divided into cultural underground and political grassroots activism.

For his followers, DIY often means seeing belief in oneself and one's own strength as the driving force behind change. The do-it-yourself movement of the 1960s and 1970s is characterized by a belief in self-empowerment , self-organization , improvisation , initiative and often a mistrust of established authority , of passive consumption , products of industry and the guidelines of the mass media .

Since skills are acquired autodidactically , publications with instructions play a central role. In the English-speaking world, zines, small booklets, are printed by themselves. In addition, users now post countless instructions on YouTube and there are morning programs on SWR, BR, Sat1 and ProSieben ( Do It Yourself - SOS ).

With the strong increase in the popularity of the creative hobby since 2013, the term DIY in the sense of home improvement is becoming more and more confused with the subject of creative. Decorative activities such as interior decoration, upcycling and textile work are increasingly being named with the term do-it-yourself . In addition, DIY is gender-unspecific, unlike DIY, which is linked to a male gender (vv: handicraft).

Semantics in the German language

Dome house fiberglass in California

In the German-speaking area, the concepts of the negative subversive and the positive craftsmanship face each other. On the one hand, the alternative DIY culture in German-speaking countries has become radicalized under the influence of the autonomous movement in its rejection of the prevailing conditions . On the other hand, there is a boom section DIY in the DIY industry and geography, and a general trend to make yourself .

There is a problematic tendency for the determination to associate any self-employed activity, even Wikipedia, with DIY . Due to the inflationary, almost arbitrary use of the label DIY , an expansion of meaning takes place. DIY in the original sense is not a description of pure phenomena such as DIY, tinkering and do-it-yourself, but requires an explicit reference to the movement, attitude or at least the motto. It can depend on the intention of the inventor themselves, the templates used or the result, whether it is DIY and which formation it is. However, there is an overlap between DIY and do-it-yourself that does not follow the tradition of this movement: The reason to do things yourself can be fun , creativity or economic reasons. In addition, many things cannot be purchased prefabricated in the desired shape or processing quality.

In the alternative DIY scene , in addition to individual independence, it is also about self-organization with others, but above all about demarcation from e.g. B. Commercialization.

In the change in meaning on a psychological level, the metacommunicative request takes a back seat .

There are no permanent memberships or supporting institutions. Even if we are talking about movements here , in contrast to social movements, there are neither collective actors , goal-oriented models, personalities (except for Jean Pütz , Susanne Klingner , Patricia Morgenthaler and Jeri Ellsworth ) nor other overarching relationships - apart from certain print media and industries - Associations.

Economical meaning


Drink mix robot

In business administration , DIY refers to the DIY store sector that specializes in materials for do-it-yourselfers. In 2005 there were 2,520 DIY stores in Germany, each with a total area of ​​over 1000 square meters. In 2008, the total turnover of the industry in Germany was € 17.6 billion. The market potential for DIY stores has been increasing for a number of years with the trend towards home improvement. In a survey in several European countries in 2007, 60% of those questioned stated that they work as a do-it-yourselfer, in 2010 it was 70%. The Germans spend an average of 600 euros a year on maintenance measures in the house and 1,500 euros on do-it-yourself projects in the garden.

In July 2013 the hardware stores Max Bahr and Praktiker filed for bankruptcy. “The market is saturated,” wrote the analysts at the consulting firm Regioplan . Hardware stores are now adapting to tougher competition and new consumer behavior (Internet) in many ways.

Professional associations

The Bundesverband Deutscher Heimwerker- und Baumärkte eV (BHB) celebrated a "summit of the DIY industry" in the former Bundestag in Bonn in 2014 to mark its 40th birthday. The trade association sees itself as the mouthpiece of the DIY industry in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. "The trend towards designing oneself is growing." 2015 was the general announcement of the industry magazine "diy" from Dähne Verlag.

The third "Global DIY Summit" of edra (European DIY Retail Association), fediyma (European Federation of DIY Manufacturers) and ghin (Global Home Improvement Network) took place in London in 2015 with the theme "The future of home improvement " with the participation of Google and SAP instead.

Trade journals

In DIY , you don't need a profession to create, repair or optimize things according to your own ideas. Often, however, the frowned upon building instructions or professional advice from hardware store employees are required . From November 1957 the first German do-it-yourself illustrated Selbst ist der Mann with lots of colorful instructions from the Brink & Herting publishing house in Hamburg was published. Today the magazine belongs to the Bauer publishing group and in 2009 had a monthly circulation of 75,200 copies. The monthly magazine Selbermachen has been published since 1974 , at that time by Orbis Verlag, from 1978 by Jahreszeiten Verlag and since 2013 by GeraNova Bruckmann with a circulation of 65,062 copies (1/2015).

National economy

From an economic perspective, DIY externalises production costs , since work is done unpaid.

Products made as part of DIY are usually more sustainable than those that are readily available in stores, and thus reduce externalized costs such as environmental damage. This results, among other things, from the fact that usable material can be created and repaired from existing material. (See upcycling ).

It seems reasonable to assume that DIY will result in losses in other industries. It could just as well be a matter of separate needs that cannot be met by products from other industries.

Political-ethical concept

Self-made tank of the YPG militia in Kobane 2015

The DIY movement gathers counter-cultural currents. A popular example of this is the punk movement of the 1970s. They expressed the break with conventions through the music of punk rock or self-designed fashion. The emphasis on DIY as a lifestyle , subject formation and ethics is still typical of alternative DIY and goes far beyond the mere willingness to do it yourself or do it yourself.

This also includes striving for self-determination and self-assertion. Mass consumption and the capitalist economy are rejected and alternatives are preferred.

The alternative DIY scene is organized independently of large institutions and corporations in festivals , occupations , bands , reference groups , open workshops or repair cafés , pirate broadcasters , socio-cultural or autonomous centers , action camps, skill-sharing workshops and publication created content (e.g. zines).

Since the possibilities for independent living and working as well as for the willingness to be active in any form have taken on new dimensions in the course of digitization , the popularity of DIY has also increased. Just like rebellious, rather artisanal phenomena such as guerrilla gardening , guerrilla knitting or upcycling, internet phenomena such as video activism or blogs, citizen journalism and indymedia networks operated by amateurs also count in the sphere of activity of subversive DIY.

DIY in music

DIY was not only shaped by anarcho-punk , hardcore , indie , straight edge , emo and similar styles of music, which can be summarized with the synonym alternative . About EBM also are Techno , Goa trance and many other styles of music and youth culture penetrated more or less of the lifestyle or concept. Until their commercialization, these directions explicitly showed traces of the DIY ethics and beyond that, under certain circumstances, they only retained a corresponding image. Merchandising , contracts with major labels and lavish tours are particularly suspicious . Often subgenres try to renew the rebellious DIY motif again, as in the example of the Freetekno .

The conviction of the subversive concept of DIY is particularly deeply anchored in hardcore (including Straight Edge, Riot Grrrl , Queercore ) and anarchopunk. Decisive impulses for feminist riot grrrl and queer queer core came from US groups.

Criticism and discussion

The activities, insofar as they also include improvisations , can only be carried out by people who have the means of production (tools, materials and skills), time and access to knowledge. However, the DIY movement-related FabLab and open source movements (hardware and software) try to enable such access to means of production via open hardware , open data and open standards .

It is argued that the radical individualism underlying the liberal idea of ​​individual freedom means that DIY as a political practice does not go beyond the importance of a market niche . A counterexample here, however, are the Fablab and Open Source movements, which operate DIY on a partially highly organized, economically and politically relevant level.

It can also be noted critically that the weakening of the strict separation between “professional” and “amateur” has made traditional job titles diffuse today.

The (self) designation DIY as a subculture implies the assumption that there is a uniform "metaculture".

As in the example of IKEA furniture, the industry only supplies the self-fulfilling customer with the unfinished mass products ( IKEA effect ). Using the example of the Amazon book review, customers take over the product description. Production and marketing costs are passed on to customers.

If DIY emerged against the monotonous working world of the 1960s and 1970s, in the centers of capitalism individualism has now established itself in the organization and in the creative economy, a downright compulsion to creativity, which has been discovered as a resource. Likewise resistant practices such as the were graffito by guerrilla marketing in capitalist processes hedged .

See also

Attributed to DIY (incomplete)

Activities that are (not exclusively) attributed to alternative DIY (incomplete)

Alternative DIY actors


  • Andrea Baier, Tom Hansing, Christa Müller , Katrin Werner (eds.): Repairing the world. Open source and do-it-yourself as a post-capitalist practice. transcript, Bielefeld 2016, ISBN 978-3-8376-3377-1 .
  • Curious George Brigade, Crimethinc, Co-Conspirators: DIY. About anarchy and dinosaurs . Unrast, Münster 2006, ISBN 3-89771-444-2 .
  • Kyle Bravo, Jenny LeBlanc: Making Stuff and Doing Things . Microcosm Publishing, Portland 2005, ISBN 0-9726967-9-2 .
  • Craig O'Hara: The history of a cultural revolt (The philosophy of punk) . Ventil, Mainz 2001, ISBN 3-930559-72-2 .
  • David Gauntlett: Making is Connecting. The social meaning of creativity, from DIY and knitting to YouTube and Web 2.0. Polity, Cambridge, Malden, MA 2011, ISBN 978-0-7456-5002-9 .
  • Helmut Gold: Do it yourself. In: Helmut Gold (Ed.): DIY. The hands-on revolution. (= Catalogs of the Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunications. 29). 1st edition. Ventil Verlag, Mainz 2011, ISBN 978-3-931555-41-2 , pp. 6-9.
  • Annabelle Hornung: Thimble and Feminism: The Busy Female Hand. In: Helmut Gold (Ed.): DIY. The hands-on revolution. (= Catalogs of the Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunications. 29). 1st edition. Ventil Verlag, Mainz 2011, ISBN 978-3-931555-41-2 , pp. 52-57.
  • Faythe Levine: Preface. In: Faythe Levine, Cortney Heimerl (ed.): Handmade nation. The rise of DIY. art, craft, and design. Princeton Architectural Press, New York 2008, ISBN 978-1-56898-787-3 .
  • George McKay: DiY Culture: notes towards an intro. In: George McKay (Ed.): DiY culture. Party & protest in Nineties Britain. Verso, London / New York 1998, ISBN 1-85984-260-7 , pp. 1-53.
  • Susanne Regener: Media Amateurs - Photography and Social Practice in Everyday Life. In: Helmut Gold (Ed.): DIY. The hands-on revolution. (= Catalogs of the Museum Foundation Post and Telecommunications. 29). 1st edition. Ventil Verlag, Mainz 2011, ISBN 978-3-931555-41-2 , pp. 176-187.
  • Martina Fineder, Thomas Geisler, Sebastian Hackenschmidt: Nomadic Furniture 3.0 - New Liberated Living? (= MAK Studies. Volume 23). Zurich 2017, ISBN 978-3-7212-0961-7 .

Web links

Commons : Do it yourself  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikibooks: Do it yourself  - learning and teaching materials

Individual evidence

  1. H. Gold (Ed.): DIY. The hands-on revolution. 2011, pp. 6-7.
  2. Teal Triggs: Scissors and Glue: Punk Fanzines and the Creation of a DIY Aesthetic . In: Journal of Design History . vo. 19, n.1, 2006, p. 69-83 ( [accessed September 24, 2007]): "Yet, it remains within the subculture of punk music where the homemade, A4, stapled and photocopied fanzines of the late 1970s fostered the" do-it-yourself "(DIY) production techniques of cut-n-paste letterforms, photocopied and collaged images, hand-scrawled and typewritten texts, to create a recognizable graphic design aesthetic."
  3. A. Hornung: Thimble and Feminism: The busy female hand. 2011, p. 52.
  4. a b Results of a study by the market research institute GfK SE on behalf of the European Federation of DIY Manufacturers ( Memento from July 1, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), home improvement portal Mach mal. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  5. BHB - Retail Association for DIY, Building and Gardening eV - DIY store congress 2014: BHB welcomes the DIY sector in Bonn. (No longer available online.) In: Archived from the original on May 30, 2015 ; Retrieved July 5, 2015 .
  6. Brand manufacturer presents a unique DIY creative concept. In: Retrieved July 5, 2015 .
  7. 3rd Global DIY Summit 2015 - London, UK. In: Cvent. Retrieved July 5, 2015 .
  8. ^ IVW information community to determine the distribution of advertising media. Report in print Q4 / 2009 , accessed on January 26, 2010.
  9. The Chronicle of the Jahreszeiten Verlag. (No longer available online.) In: Jahreszeiten Verlag. Archived from the original on February 15, 2011 ; Retrieved February 17, 2011 .
  10. H. Gold (Ed.): DIY. The hands-on revolution. 2011, p. 6.
  11. G. McKay: DiY Culture: notes towards to intro. 1998, pp. 25-26.
  12. ^ D. Gauntlett: Making is Connecting. The social meaning of creativity, from DIY and knitting to You Tube and Web 2.0. 2011, pp. 226-227.
  13. ^ AKW-DIY-Fest in Biel, on radar, calendar on , accessed on June 28, 2015.
  14. ^ Blog of the Keimzelle-DIY Festival Greifswald , accessed on June 28, 2015.
  15. , accessed on June 28, 2015.
  16. Website of the Punk Film Festival , accessed on June 28, 2015.
  17. Press release of the Marzahn-Hellersdorf district on the web portal The "Resist to Exist 2014" festival - a complete success! Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  18. Website of Autonomads , DIY Dub, Punk and Ska-Band, accessed on June 28, 2015.
  19. ^ Website of the Association of Open Workshops , accessed on June 28, 2015.
  20. Video activism collective KanalB Video about the diy anarchist convention in Freiburg in July 2006 by Cine Rebelde on KanalB , accessed on June 28, 2015.
  21. H. Gold (Ed.): DIY. The hands-on revolution. 2011, pp. 6-7.
  22. ^ S. Regener: Medienamateure - Photography and social practice in everyday life. 2011, p. 177.
  23. DIY guide to screen printing t-shirts for cheap. Retrieved September 24, 2007 : "" Ever wonder where bands get their T-shirts made? Some of them probably go to the local screen printers and pay a bunch of money to have their shirts made up, then they have to turn around and sell them to you for a high price. Others go the smart route, and do it themselves. Here's a quick how-to on the cheap way to going about making T-shirts. ""
  24. ZINEFEST BERLIN. In: Retrieved July 5, 2015 .