Gender and social media

Sexism, empowerment, or the irrelevance of gender?

Authored by: Tanja Carstensen

The Routledge Companion to Media and Gender

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  December  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415527699
eBook ISBN: 9780203066911
Adobe ISBN: 9781135076955

10.4324/9780203066911.ch44

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Abstract

In the field of science and technology studies (STS), the idea that technologies—including media—are the results of negotiation processes and power struggles is not controversial. At the same time, it is no longer disputed that technological development does not follow its own logic, but rather is the outcome and materialization of social power relations (Bijker et al. 1987; MacKenzie and Wajcman 1985). Feminist technology researcher Judy Wajcman (2004) states that technologies are also related to the constitution of gender relations and gender-relevant developments. With the arrival of every new technology, social power relations and thus gender relations are renegotiated. Technology and media are not exclusive determinants of social changes, but they are not merely passive things either:

Technology must be understood as part of the social fabric that holds society together …, technological change is a contingent and heterogeneous process in which technology and society are mutually constituted.

(Wajcman 2004: 106)

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