Engendering Tech

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The Local Scene

Just as in the Netherlands, I am investigating the experiences of women involved with technology here in California. It’s too early to make real comparisons or even to really hypothesize, but a couple of things have caught my attention.  There seems here more of an overlap between the tech culture and the alternative cultural scene, the most obvious example being the community around Burning Man (and Maker Faire, RoboGames, etc). Though there is still sometimes a bit of a boys club atmosphere at some events, there are women centrally involved in all of them.

Further, the concentration of tech companies in Northern California offers more opportunities for women to be involved in industry, and a larger base for the growth of digital culture than in many other US locales.  This summer, I hope to add some locale interviews, as well as organizing those from earlier investigations.

Monday, 19 April, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Update…

This project has been on hiatus for quite some time; I had expected to travel regularly to the Netherlands, continuing interviews I began in 2007 and continued in 2008.  However, in early 2009 the economic troubles in California and in my university system in particular put a halt to my travels for the foreseeable future.  Over the last year I’ve had to work on revamping the project and shifting the focus to local interviews far sooner than I had planned.  I hope to get back to NL eventually, and in the meantime, I’m figuring what I can do long-distance.

And now, back to the project…

Monday, 19 April, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

And this is about?

A recent book, Cyberfeminism in Northern Lights, claims that earlier research on gender and technology has been US and UK-centric, taking the experiences of people in those countries as universal and ignoring differences in the construction of gender and in the actual living conditions of men and women in other countries. Further, some earlier research is argued to have been biased by existing stereotyped beliefs
about how men and women use technology.

In an effort to gain a more accurate view of how women engage with technology I am conducting interviews to study men’s and women’s roles in the institutionalization of new media in the Netherlands. In particular I look at how women get started with technology, how they use it, and how they have entered and participated in the development of new media and the surrounding discourse. In this respect the project looks at the way an emerging culture of knowledge is gendered.

Women and men from their early 30s to mid 60s are being interviewed about their participation as artists, scholars, and activists in the Dutch new media field. As the project develops, some will contribute directly to the site as well. This is research in progress and does not aim to confirm a definitive alternate story of technology and gender. The discourse analysis performed, and the questions explored about how to best deal with experiential narratives, follows Judith Butler’s conclusion that subjects are always to some degree opaque to each other.  These interviews instead reveal that the way we speak about how men and women use technology, the way we frame research questions, and the way users describe their own activities, shape our perceptions of how women use technology and of the technology itself.

Wednesday, 26 November, 2008 Posted by | About | , | 1 Comment