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Discursive skin: Entanglements of gender, discourse and technology
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, The Department of Gender Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Diskursivt skal : sammanflätningar av genus, diskurs och teknik (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study is to explore the relationship between gender, discourse and technology, and the resulting construction of bodily norms, in a contemporary environment dominated by info- and bio-technologies. The premise from which this study starts is that the ‘intra-action’ between gender, discourse and technology plays a central role in shaping contemporary identities. The study is based on close readings of material from three case studies: cyberpunk fiction, (in)fertility weblogs and the World Health Organisation guidelines on naming of biotechnologies. The distinctive combination of the three case studies provides a unique perspective on the relationship between gender, discourse and technology, showing how it shifts across different contexts, and demonstrating the socio-historical contingency of the bodily norms produced therein.

This study is comprised of three empirical texts, one theoretical text and a kappa. The analysis shows how innovative cyberpunk narratives challenge not only human/non-human boundaries, but also genre and gender conventions. The specific format of the blog allows women’s experiences of infertility to be heard and produces hybrid discourses which challenge contemporary authoritative discourses about femininity. The third case study explores the assignment of International Nonproprietary Names to new biotechnologies, and the implications of this on the construction of patients’ bodies. Finally, the theoretical text contributes to existing feminist analyses of technoscience by proposing a new tool called abject/noise for examining disruptions to discursive and bodily coherence. This tool is then tested on a series of documents about the assignment of International Nonproprietary Names to new biotechnologies. Throughout, the importance of ‘situated knowledges’ is emphasised, both in how gender, discourse and technology are understood, but also in the norms produced and the position of the researcher.

Abstract [sv]

Syftet med denna studie är att undersöka relationen mellan genus, diskurs och teknik och hur denna relation bidrar till att konstruera vissa typer av kroppsnormer, speciellt som vår samtid infärgas av informationsteknik och bioteknik. Utgångspunkten för denna studie är att ’intra-action’ mellan genus, diskurs och teknik spelar en central roll i utformningen av samtida identiteter. Studien bygger på närläsningar av material från tre fallstudier: cyberpunk-litteratur, in/fertilitetets-bloggar och Världs-hälsoorganisationens riktlinjer för namngivning av bioteknik. Kombinationen av de tre fallstudierna ger ett unikt perspektiv på relationen mellan genus, diskurs och teknik. Den visar hur relationen skiftar mellan olika sammanhang, och hur denna är kulturellt villkorad och därmed tillåter vissa kroppsliga normer att upstå och cirkulera.

Denna undersökning består av tre empiriskt grundade texter, en mer teoretisk text och en kappa. Den försten analysen visar hur innovativa cyberpunk berättelser inte bara utmanar föreställningar kring det mänsklig / icke-mänskliga gränser, utan också själva genren i sig och dess kulturella konventionerna kring genus. Det specifika format webbloggen (eller blogg) i den andra fallstudien tillåter kvinnors upplevelser av infertilitet att höras och producerar genreöverlappningar och igen-kännanden som utmanar samtida normativ diskurser om reproduktiv kvinnlighet. Den tredje fallstudien undersöker tilldelningen av ett så kallat Internationellt generiskt namn till nya biotekniska produkter, och konsekvenserna detta får för konstruktionen av patienternas genusifierade kroppar. Slutligen bidrar den teoretiska texten till befintliga feministiska analyser av ’teknovetenskap’ genom att föreslå ett nytt verktyg som kallas ’abject/noise’ för att undersöka störningar i diskursiva och kroppsliga sammanhang. Detta verktyg testats sedan också analytiskt på dokumentar som rör tilldelningen av Internationellt generiskt namn till ny bioteknik. Genom hela avhandlingen läggs tonvikten på ’situerad kunskap’, både gäller hur genus, diskurs och teknik förstås kontextuellt, hur normer blir till och hur forskaren positionerar sig.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 2010. , 115 + articles 1-4 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 513
Keyword [en]
gender, discourse, technology, feminism, technoscience, cyberpunk, blog, biotechnology
Keyword [sv]
genus, diskurs, teknik, feminism, technoscience, cyberpunk, blogg, bioteknik
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-64127ISBN: 978-91-7393-421-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-64127DiVA: diva2:386938
Public defence
2010-04-16, TEM21, TEMA, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-02-01 Created: 2011-01-13 Last updated: 2014-11-28Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Gender resistance: interrogating the ‘punk’ in cyberpunk
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gender resistance: interrogating the ‘punk’ in cyberpunk
2010 (English)In: Humanity in Cybernetic Environments / [ed] Daniel Riha, Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press , 2010, 103-113 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this paper, I examine two cyberpunk texts to assess whether their apparentresistance to mainstream society includes resistance to gender stereotypes.Writing from a feminist perspective, I suggest that much of the disruptivepotential of this genre is derived from its integration of ‘punk’ as a discourseor practice of resistance to social ‘norms’. I focus on Candas Jane Dorsey’sshort story ‘(Learning About) Machine Sex’ and Neal Stephenson’s novelSnow Crash. I have deliberately chosen texts whose relationship with firstwavecyberpunk is complicated either by an explicitly feminist standpoint(Dorsey) or a generational distance (Stephenson), in order to assess whetherthese authors avoid or succumb to the same critiques levelled at earlycyberpunk about gender representation. I am concerned with who and whatthese texts are resisting, and how this resistance is performed. This line ofenquiry, however, also demands a closer examination of the positiveconnotations attached to ‘resistance’ in cyberpunk, and, consequently, to askwhose interests are not represented. To do this, I use the disruptiveassociations of ‘punk’ as a tool, looking not only at particular themes ofresistance within the text, but also how the authors’ innovative stylisticmanoeuvres resist genre conventions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2010
Keyword
Gender, Cyberpunk, Dorsey, Stephenson, Technology, Punk
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-64132 (URN)978-1-904710-71-4 (ISBN)
Available from: 2011-01-13 Created: 2011-01-13 Last updated: 2013-04-15Bibliographically approved
2. Online negotiations of infertility
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Online negotiations of infertility
2011 (English)In: Imaging the Female Body: Feminist Perspectives on Gynaecological KnowledgeProduction and Learning Processes / [ed] Nina Lykke and Barbro Wijma, New York London: Routledge , 2011Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In 2004 weblogs (or ‘blogs‘) made the front cover of New York Times Magazine, marking them as the latest internet-based trend to take popular culture by storm. Although now used for a wide range of functions such as education, soft marketing and political commentary, blogs were originally a space for narrating personal life stories, and have emerged as the leading technology for individuals to narrate their stories in a digital, public form, in dialogue with other bloggers and blog visitors.

One of the best examples of this is infertility blogs, which represent a distinctive subgenre of blogs in which women write about their experiences of trying to conceive, undergoing fertility treatments, adoption and pregnancy. Drawing on a series of conversations with a small group of women bloggers, together with extracts from their blogs, this paper asks: how does blogging allow these women to 'make sense' of their experiences of infertility?

These blogs are notable for their detailed yet accessible reporting of the medical tests and procedures which the writers undergo in their attempts to conceive. This 'translation' of medical discourse, and the network of comments/support which emerge, are facilitated by the format and style of the blog and help the women to renegotiate their identities during a difficult transitional period in their lives. These blogs, however, are embedded in broader contexts which shape their use, and which suggest the contingency and limitation of the 'sense' that is produced.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York London: Routledge, 2011
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-64684 (URN)
Available from: 2011-02-01 Created: 2011-02-01 Last updated: 2013-04-29Bibliographically approved
3. What's in a name?: The importance of nomenclature in biotechnology
Open this publication in new window or tab >>What's in a name?: The importance of nomenclature in biotechnology
2008 (English)In: Women in Biotechnology: Creating Interfaces / [ed] Francesca Molfino and Flavia Zucco, Berlin Heidelberg: Springer Verlag , 2008, 1, 183-197 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In June 2006 the World Health Organisation published a review of the issues concerning International Nonproprietary Names (INN) for biotechnological products, reflecting a growing awareness of the challenges posed by novel therapies to established scientific naming conventions. Like many aspects of the biotechnology industry, the process of naming and branding new drugs is complex and often shrouded in technical vocabulary. Examining fictional representations of biotechnology in parallel with analysis of the 'real life' processes for product naming reveals some of the implications of nomenclature whilst rendering the scientific discourse more transparent. In this paper, I use Margaret Atwood's 2003 novel, Oryx and Crake, as an entry point for exploring these implications from a feminist perspective, examining biotech both as a space for critical analysis and its effects on the medical discourse surrounding women's bodies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Berlin Heidelberg: Springer Verlag, 2008 Edition: 1
Keyword
gender, fiction, biotechnology, nomenclature, Oryx and Crake
National Category
Gender Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-50500 (URN)978-1-4020-8610-6 (ISBN)
Available from: 2009-10-12 Created: 2009-10-12 Last updated: 2013-05-31Bibliographically approved
4. Abject/noise: a new tool for feminist analysis of technoscience
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Abject/noise: a new tool for feminist analysis of technoscience
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This article contributes to existing feminist technoscience analyses by proposing a new tool for examining how norms governing viable and unviable bodies are discursively constructed in an increasingly technologised world. This tool is the result of synthesising two existing concepts: white noise from the field of media theory/information studies, and the abject from psychosemiotics/gender studies. Synthesising these two concepts produces an enriched term for detecting interrelations between discursive disturbances and disturbances in bodily norms.

In this paper, the synthesised concept (abject/noise) is used as a tool to analyse material concerning the assignment of International Nonproprietary Names (or „generic‟ names) to biotechnological drugs. Biotech offers itself as a prime testing ground for this new tool, replete as it is with bodily anxieties, powerful discourses and innovative technologies. This article compares three versions of an INN guidance document showing how anxieties about bodily norms are reflected in, and managed through, these documents.

Keyword
abject, biotechnology, body, discourse, International Nonproprietary Names, white noise
National Category
Gender Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-64685 (URN)
Available from: 2011-02-01 Created: 2011-02-01 Last updated: 2011-02-01Bibliographically approved

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