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A Cultural Studies Approach to Gender and ICT

A Cultural Studies Approach to Gender and ICT
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Author(s): Merete Lie (Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway)
Copyright: 2008
Pages: 7
Source title: Information Communication Technologies: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Craig Van Slyke (Northern Arizona University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-949-6.ch248


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This article introduces a cultural studies approach to the field of gender and ICT. This implies an emphasis on the symbolic aspects of technology. Technologies are approached as cultural phenomena to which meaning is attached, but in the sense that they are open to various interpretations. Technology holds a position as a key symbol in Western societies. A key symbol is, in Sherry B. Ortner’s terms, a symbol that helps us to sort out experiences and put them into place within cultural categories, and even help us think about “how it all hangs together” (Ortner, 1973, p. 1341). This key symbol has gone through a radical transformation from mechanical machines to ICTs as the leading technologies. An important question is how changing technologies are linked to another key symbol, namely that of gender. Moreover, following from that question, how can you study the relationship of gender and ICTs when both are continually changing?

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