Accepted Paper:

Solving the Gender Digital Divide through Social Theatre: Where Is Technology's Agency?  

Authors:

Adriana Gil-Juárez (Universitat Rovira i Virgili)
Joel Feliu (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Paper short abstract:

As gender is reproduced, negotiated or resisted in relation to technology we present a Social Theatre play where performing femininity appears as somehow incompatible with technical expertise in computing and we discuss whether the piece adequately represents the different tangled agencies involved

Paper long abstract:

Male dominance of technology is enacted in most everyday life situations, therefore, dependence, vulnerability, invisibilisation and exclusion of women ensue from this persistent association between technology and masculinity. Having this in mind we helped design, in 2013, an Action Research project that could contribute to reduce male dominance in the computing field. Young women Computer Sciences undergraduates told us their personal technological trajectories and their narrations inspired a Social Theatre piece which recreated their experiences with technology. The play shows different daily life situations related to the gender digital divide, where a girl is confronted to different oppressions perpetuated by her antagonists. During the play participants can think of these situations, discuss them and try to correct them by replaying them. This allows different strategies in front of oppressions to be rehearsed in a secure space, where errors can be made with no consequences. A space emerges where new forms of confronting conflicts related to technology are negotiated and new gender performances may appear and may pave the way to other possible citations of gender. During the session we will present extracts of the play and ask some questions to be discussed. Why, during the play, only people have agency and not technology? Is our relation to technology a personal matter solvable by simply changing our ways of performing it? Is the concept of empowerment, which sustains Social Theatre, misleading us? Are the oppressed the responsible for their own liberation, isn't that accusing them of complicity with their own oppression?

Panel T100
Feminist Technoscience Studies in Unexpected Places: (Intra)Activism and Social Justice