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Dreaming the Future_Firuzeh Shokooh Valle


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These are the slides of my presentation at the Digital Sociology Miniconference at ESS 2016. I am a PhD candidate in Sociology at Northeastern University, Boston.

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Dreaming the Future_Firuzeh Shokooh Valle

  1. 1. F I R U Z E H S H O K O O H V A L L E E S S B O S T O N M A R C H 2 0 1 6 D R E A M I N G T H E F U T U R E : T H E G E N D E R E D T E C H N O P O L I T I C S O F D E V E L O P M E N T
  2. 2. R E S E A R C H Q U E S T I O N S 1- How is “gender and technology” as discourse and practice being constructed; what are the origins and trajectories? 2- What are the commonalities and differences of both official organizations and activist approaches in Latin America to empowering marginalized women through technology? 3- What kinds subjectivities are emerging?
  3. 3. T H E O R E T I C A L F R A M E W O R K • Critical Gender and Development Studies (Cornwall et al. 2007; Kabeer 1994; Karim 2011; Rankin 2001; Roy 2012; Sen and Grown 1987) • Feminist Science and Technology Studies (Harding 2008; Layne et al. 2010; Wajcman 1991; 2007) • Postcolonial Theory (Mohanty 1988)
  4. 4. R E S E A R C H M E T H O D S • Three case studies: APC (transnational network), Sula Batsú (Costa Rica), Colnodo (Colombia) • 70 in-depth interviews: grassroots organizations, international development agencies, state officials, technology corporations • Participant observation: Costa Rica and Colombia • Textual analysis: organizational literature, international development institutional reports (UN, World Bank, USAID), corporative reports, newspaper articles
  5. 5. “The new technologies are a lifeline that can enable women in developing countries to join the battle for economic, social, and political empowerment.“ USAID 2001 “It is important to stress that the impact of ICTs will not be understood through people’s access to technology alone but on the impact of ICTs on the social, political, and economic structures of communities on people’s livelihoods and on their perceptions of the role that technology can play in their lives.” FAO 2003
  6. 6. “Engaging women and girls in ICT sector work is not only the right thing to do from the point of social justice. It is also smart economics. gender balance in high value ICT jobs in both management and on company boards has proven to improve business performance.” ITU 2012 “Female entrepreneurs reinvest in their communities, drive growth, and inspire girls to chase their own dreams though often faced with financial and cultural barriers.” UN Broadband Commission 2013
  7. 7. “We are a business, we compete in a market, we have customers, and we are not afraid to say that. We have prices. What we do not have is a focus on profitability ... We have a feminine or feminist approach to business, to entrepreneurship. For example, for us the pleasure of going to work should be part of entrepreneurship, and love for your compañeras de trabajo [colleagues] should be part of managing a business. In the theory and analysis of entrepreneurship, this is never taken into account. People speak of profitability, marketing, but not about these other things. The main bastion of our work is passion. For us, passion is part of how we manage our business; fun, laughter. The other thing is the capacity of making and recognizing mistakes, without malicious intent obviously. [This is our] model of a solidarity-based economy.” -Excerpt from interview member of Sula Batsú
  8. 8. “If women are immersed in these processes [of developing, designing, and creating technology], inventions will respond to very different needs. Because so far what we have seen are stereotypical needs, by way of patriarchy, and like it or not, technology is influenced by this. What is the need for women to look beautiful, be beautiful? It’s never about comfort. If a woman participates in the creation of technology, since she herself can identify with certain needs of the population, gradually these apps and inventions will be made to help us”. -Excerpt interview member Sula Batsú
  9. 9. “I believe that when we produce our own knowledge, we can appropriate this knowledge and take advantage of it. This is one of the things that happens when we go from consuming to creating technology, and in this process we can also benefit economically. If you consume mobile phones or some other type of technological artifact, it does not have to be only for entertainment, but to bring real benefits for your life and for earning profit. More than leisure and entertainment, technology can directly benefit women’s lives in economic terms, and also help them make an impact, defend their rights, and defend the rights of other populations that are vulnerable too.” -Excerpt interview member Sula Batsú
  10. 10. T H A N K Y O U F I R U Z E H S V @ G M A I L . C O M