Dissertation Abstracts

Technology in Everyday Life: An Exploration of Gender and Age in Internet Use

Author: Kadi, Selma , selma_kadi@hotmail.com
Department: Sociology
University: Teesside University, United Kingdom
Supervisor: Prof. Eileen Green
Year of completion: 2012
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: Gender , Age , Internet , Domestication of ICT
Areas of Research: Science and Technology , Women in Society , Communication, Knowledge and Culture

Abstract

This study combines perspectives from domestication theory, feminist technology studies and sociological research on ageing in order to understand older people’s internet use. The suggested approach enables us to examine the complexity of social inequalities in domestication processes. Firstly, I argue that domestication theory benefits from the integration of gender-technology relations, a perspective developed in feminist technology studies. This allows a better understanding of different dimensions of gender (structure, symbolism, identity) as well as mutually shaping processes between gender and technology. Secondly, this analysis of gender-technology relations can also be utilised to enhance our understanding of age-technology relations. Gender and age are examined in relation to (i) different phases of domestication, (ii) the use of the internet for different activities and (iii) forms of social connectedness in everyday life. The research draws upon 33 semi-structured interviews with women and men between the ages of 55 and 80 about their internet and web 2.0 use experiences. My study demonstrates the diversity of intersections between age, gender, and technology within older women’s and men’s internet use experiences, and highlights the significance of traditional age-gender-technology relations (which marginalise older women) for internet use. Furthermore, it identifies specific mechanisms found within domestication processes which serve to maintain these traditional relations. This thesis proposes a research perspective for studying age-gender-technology relations, and examines mutual shaping processes in the domestication of the internet.

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