Gender, body, desire, and technology

By on 29.10.2015 in PhD thesis
Andreas Ottemo

Andreas Ottemo

Research on gender and technology often investigates the ‘failure’ of linking women/femininity to technology.

“In my PhD thesis I, instead, adopt a perspective inspired by queer theory and focus on norms that articulate masculinity with technology,” says PhD Andreas Ottemo, University of Gothenburg, and member of JustEd team 6.

“Considering the critique that research on gender and technology has failed to address sexuality, I emphasize explicitly the role of passion, desire, and heterosexuality in the production of connections between masculinity and technology,” Andreas explains.

His doctoral thesis explores how masculinity and technology are articulated together in two different higher technology education programmes (Computer Science & Engineering and Chemical Engineering), and how notions of the body, passion, desire and heterosexuality shape this co-production. He also explores the relation between notions of technology and instrumental views of education, and how this relates to gender.

Andreas’ data includes ethnographic field notes in both formal and informal contexts and interviews with 26 students. The results of this study indicates that the students in both programmes adopt a relatively alienated and instrumental position in relation to their formal studies. Andreas interprets that this is an answer to the way how technology instruction is carried out and how technology itself is articulated.

“Much teaching fails to subjectively engage students, where one either copes with studies that fail to engage, or nurture ones passion for technology in other arenas. The position as a student almost mandates that you are passionate about computers in a way that goes beyond the education one follows. This position is also masculinized through the way that technology, passion, desire and embodied computer interest is connected to each other. “

Andreas says that his motivation for conducting research partly comes from a frustration with the present state of affairs in the society in general and, particularly, in higher technology education. Furthermore, he finds that some research projects are reproducing the problems that they claim to be studying.

Andreas wishes that the results of his research project would reach teachers and students at technical universities, as well as other researchers in the field of feminist techno science studies and in education.

Read Andreas’, thesis Gender, body, desire, and technology: Passion and instrumentality in two technical university programs


About the Author

About the Author: Journalist currently working as Communications Specialist at the Nordic Centre of Excellence "Justice through Education in the Nordic countries" and in NordForsk's programme "Education for Tomorrow". .


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