Digital Gender: A Manifesto - Report on the Research Workshop Digital Gender, Theory, Methodology, and Practice
13 Pages Posted: 17 May 2014 Last revised: 20 Sep 2014
Date Written: May 15, 2014
While early day Internet research often hailed “Cyberspace” as an arena where individuals would be liberated from the social shackles of their biological gender, a growing body of research makes evident the exaggerations present within these romanticized claims. Though the online gender divide is rapidly eroding, the Internet remains rooted in society at large. While digital technologies can challenge normative views, they therefore often maintain status quo. Consequently, there is a need to revisit old claims and challenge traditional notions of ”Digital Gender”. In this vein, this manifesto reports and synthesizes findings and discussions from an international workshop titled ”Digital Gender: Theory, Methodology and Practice”, held at Umeå University, Sweden, in early 2014. Against this backdrop, we chart out a new agenda for research on how the digital intermingle with the social in the production of gender. In particular, we argue that scholars must move past the idea of Internet as a separate – virtual – realm and direct attention to the increasingly complex ways that digital technologies permeate social practices, altering the very fabric of society itself. On the one hand, we stress the need for research that focuses on how particular Internet technologies help maintain as well as challenge normative views of gender. On the other hand, we stress the need to uncover how particular material properties of digital technology affect the (un)making of such views. Overall, we also stress the need for scholars of gender to move beyond binary oppositions and to be appreciative of intersectionality in their analyses of digital gender construction.
Keywords: Digital Gender, Gender and Technology, Internet and Society, Digital Humanities
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