The Gender of Technology. Approaching a Feminist Actor-Network Theory.

Monday, 16 July 2018: 18:45
Oral Presentation
Ingo BEDNAREK, Braunschweig University of Art (HBK Braunschweig), Germany
My PhD Project focuses on gender in sales environments and sales negotiations in digital technologies and digital media. Key terms characterizing the change in technologies and their social uses from analogue to digital media are interactivity, hypertext, and virtuality. They are characterized by new images of the flexible, the flowing, and the differentiation in process; gendered images of transformation. Media and their specific uses are, however, mistaken almost exclusively for genderless and, supposedly, neutral objects, whereby the (re)producing properties of society and gender are lingering in hiding. For a scientific recording of media transformations, new perspectives are, therefore, needed on the subject of media in order to decipher the images mentioned and take their effects seriously. Actor-Network Theory (ANT) offers such a perspective, which allows the actions of human and non-human actors to be taken seriously in their interconnectedness. With a research perspective inspired by Actor-Network Theory, the project asks how gender and gender inequality are produced in this human-machine encounter, which characterizes current sales environments. The dissertation project stands out through an innovative approach to the field of media studies, since it integrates the material practices of use and sale with new digital media. It is located at the intersection of Media Studies, Sociology of Science and Technology, Science and Technology Studies, and empirical social research. The Actor-Network Theory, which is relevant to all these disciplines/subjects, is to theoretically develop out of a gender-sensitive perspective and to be contrasted with and enriched by empirical case studies in the field of new digital media distribution, which has not yet been explored from this perspective. In the panel I would like to take the opportunity to present my project and its progress, developing further the sociological and social research elements which are central to my project.