Feminism, technology and the information society: Learning from the past, imagining the future

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Abstract

This article examines second wave and post-second wave feminist writing about the possibilities of (contemporaneously) new information and communication technologies. A number of texts by key authors, including shulamith firestone, valerie solanas, cynthia cockburn, donna haraway and sadie plant, are examined in light of the social and political context of their time of writing as well as in relation to ‘mainstream’ information society theorists such as daniel bell and manuel castells. The main focus is on how these authors understand the transformative potential of technologies, and attention is drawn to the swings between optimism and pessimism about the role of technology for a feminist political agenda. The role and nature of manifestos are also explored, and the question of whether it is time for another feminist technology manifesto is raised. The article concludes by posing some methodological and theoretical challenges of developing an anti-essentialist (in relation to both gender and technology), politically engaged and relevant feminist research agenda that takes seriously both lived experience and structures of power. The footnotes are an experiment in autobiographical writing in which i make explicit my own connection to this literature and the politics of these debates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-130
JournalInformation, communication and society
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

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