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Gender Dimensions in the Appropriation and Use of ICT-Technology: A Qualitative Study in Great Britain, Germany and the Netherlands

Brueschke, Gitta Victoria (2012) Gender Dimensions in the Appropriation and Use of ICT-Technology: A Qualitative Study in Great Britain, Germany and the Netherlands. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract ________________________________________ This thesis focuses on the roles that gender, age and culture play in informal knowledge acquisition in the field of everyday communications and entertainment technology. It concentrates on four such technologies: personal computers, mobile phones, digital cameras and MP3 players and was conducted in three countries: Great Britain, the Netherlands and Germany. It explores the strategies and networks that people develop and use to get the knowledge they need to acquire to be able to use newly available technology. The research was carried out using a qualitative approach and involved conducting 24 semi-structured interviews. The main body of analysis concentrates on three core topics: a) understanding the respondents’ childhood experiences with technical artefacts compared with the available technology, b) the different strategies developed by each individual to gain media literacy, and c) the interrelation of identity and technology, which includes the interviewees’ emotional relationships with technical artefacts. The first topic centres on the experiences of two different generations with technology and explores whether parents with technical interest conveyed this to their children. Further it investigates gender differences in these early encounters with technology. The second analysis chapter engages with the process of domesticating technical artefacts and the associated stages of knowledge acquisition. It explores the available knowledge sources for technical information in each country and which of them were used by my interviewees depending on age, gender and country. The third analysis chapter analyses the close connection between identity and the use of technical artefacts in everyday life. It examines the different perceptions respondents expressed about different generations and their use of technology, with younger generations often being dismissive of the technical competence of the older ones. The interviewees referred to their artefacts as though they were friends and described their relationship with them in terms that echo those used in object-relations theory. One important result of this study is that the perceived limitations stemming from individuals’ gender roles influenced their own attitude towards technology and technical competence. In summary, a picture emerged of interesting contradictions to some of the established stereotypes regarding the interplay of gender, age and technology.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Gender, knowledge acquisition, new technology, mobile phones, gadgets, technical knowledge, media literacy, identity, artefacts, age, generations, femininity, digital camera, computer, informal learning, everyday life, learning, stereotypes, women, men, network, knowledge sources, information
Academic Units: The University of York > Centre for Women's Studies (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.557236
Depositing User: Ms Gitta Victoria Brueschke
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2012 12:25
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:01
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/2788

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