Critical communication theory: power, media, gender and technology.
Sue Curry Jansen, 2002
Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
I like this book. It has very strong feminist stand point (to be honest it is a bit sarcastic BUT this is one the text books I do enjoy, even it makes me laugh: “Inquisitioners required assurance that scientists were doing God’s work….The Cartesian method separates reason and emotion …” (p. 79) ===> as if God would separate reason and emotion, if God does exist.
Hey, this is realy nice quote – and I think, it is realy true 🙂
“Technological designs are also social designs. Cultural values, economic interests, and political decisions are as integral to their composition as mathematical calculations, motors, cams, circuits, and silicon chips.” (p. 71).
Reading these sentences reminds me to my course in women’s study graduate programme. One of the lecturers told us that mostly kitchens don’t have women oriented designs. Why, because men built them, so it must be from male point of view – not from women’s. It is too high, it is too limited, it is tooo…. male. This is not because women have not being involved in technology. It is only because women have been stereotyped as technologies users than inventors.
According to Jansen, critical communication theory to some extent is futile. The root of this problem lies at the marginalization of women’s discourse in technology, which has given effects to vocabulary richness. Therefore – critical communication theory which is aimed at deconstruction, has to “borrow” the “entlightenment-based vocabulary”: “putting the new wine of critical and cultural theory in the old bottles of patriarchal linguistic categories” (p. 73).
But, Jansen suggest feminist scholars to tactfully benefit “the word of the fathers” (Mikhail Bakhtin) as one of the tools to deconstruct the epistemological “location” of Western way of thinking (malestream): “The trick, then, is to take from mainstream discourses without being (entirely) taken in by them”. Another tools to deconstruct malestream is by using feminist stand point – epistemological critique – to feel the lack of “the private sphere” – by being aware of the false consciousness of “natural standpoint”. Being aware to (Western) objectivity is none but women exclusion, which has posted women as the other that has been rationalized through the eye of the patriarch: “the specific consciousness we call scientific, Western and modern is the long sharpened tool of the masculine mind that has discarded parts of its own substance, calling it “Eve”, “female” and “inferior”. (John Hillman in Jansen, p. 77).
With her sharp awareness, Jansen questions how communication – which is a natural character of human, has been approached by using mathematical theories (She points to Claude Shannon) and then being applied to explain phenomenons in social sciences. She, then, believes, the development of information and communication technology is also based on Shannon’s information theory. Therefore – no wonder if computer operating system are using non women friendly instruction, yet are “based upon the rulse of the “command” and “control” functions of military hierarchies and business accounting systems” (p. 80).
Jansen suggests that Maruyama’s classificatory information theory and Gilligan’s concepts of ethics and morality strengthen the division of human’s knowledge. These kind of theories validate the digital divide as gender divide, because they suggest that the differences between male’s and female’s nature is innate. I suppose, she is trying to say that – at least – these two concepts (both from Maruyama and Gilligan) ignore longstanding social constructions that silence women. So women’s fear or resistance of (information) and communication technology is not because of women’s nature. She points to a number of women technophiles, to argue separation between male’s and female’s nature are based on messy ambivalent arguments. So, in her opinion to fill in the gap in digital devide is not by by making women friendly technology, but by re-forming girls.
Gee! I love this book hehehe
I cannot wait for Saturday