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[End] Users as Designers

The Internet in Everyday Life in Irish Households

Deirdre Hynes

This paper presents a study of Irish households, the internet and everyday life. Social studies of technology draw heavily from anthropology, not only in ethnographic methodologies but also in the ways in which such data can be understood and interpreted within the contexts of everyday life. To achieve this, the concept of the domestication of (media) technologies has been developed to describe and analyse the processes of technology's acceptance, rejection and use. Domestication is employed as a structural and analytical framework to achieve an empirical understanding of the domestic user. Based on a critical analysis from an anthropological perspective, the paper will revise the original domestication of the concept of technology. The notion of technological black boxes and I-methodology strategies are critiqued. This paper calls for users to be conceptualised as active agents in the overall design process and not as just end users who become active once the artefact has become commodified.

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Dustin William Louie

), despite representing less than 4 percent of the population. Existing literature on recruitment of these girls and women scarcely references the Internet and often omits social media altogether, as Michelle Hoogland (2010) notes. However, the research I

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Valentina Sartori

This year’s documentary appendix adopts a different approach. In a

change from previous volumes, demographic, social, and economic

data are not included, since this information is now easily available

through the Internet. However, electoral data are provided as usual.

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Jeffrey Butcher

Manuel Castells (2012) Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, pp. ix+306, ISBN-13: 978-0-7456-6285-5.

If the purpose of Manuel Castells’ book Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age is, as he says, “to suggest some hypotheses, grounded on observation, on the nature and perspectives of networked social movements, with the hope of identifying the new paths of social change in our time, and to stimulate a debate on the practical (and ultimately political) implications of these hypotheses” (p. 4), then he accomplishes his goal but sells himself short.

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Blogging the Resistance

Testimony and Solidarity in Egyptian Women's Blogs

Sophia Brown

Much has been written about the role the internet played during the Arab uprisings of 2011, with particular attention paid to social media, whether Facebook, Twitter or blogging, and the extent to which it contributed to organizing the mass protests. Another recurring theme of the analysis of the uprisings was the role played by women, with Western media in particular emphasizing their contributions and debating whether this marked a pronounced increase in women’s agency. My article seeks to respond to these issues through an analysis of two Egyptian women’s blogs. Instead of contributing to the well-known debate about the internet’s capabilities for facilitating action, I examine how blogs observe resistance, exploring this through notions of digital testimony and autobiography. I then consider the issue of solidarity and whether this is gendered, which is an important issue to consider in light of the focus placed on women’s roles during the protests. Ultimately I aim to demonstrate that these Egyptian women’s blogs offer us new and productive ways of thinking about the role the internet played during the Arab uprisings and the autobiographical act, leading us to acknowledge the complexities of both solidarity and articulations of selfhood.

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Olga Zdravomyslova and Elena Iarskaia-Smirnova

Girls born between the late 1990s and the early 2000s in the countries of the former USSR and Eastern Europe are fast entering into a particular kind of social life. In contrast to previous generations of girls born and bred under communist regimes, this post-socialist generation has access to the Internet, social networks, and global mass culture. They speak in a different voice, and they raise new issues and seek answers to them.

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Claudia Mitchell and Jacqui Reid-Walsh

This issue of Girlhood Studies focuses on particular girlhood practices—the everyday activities in which some girls engage as part of their ordinary lives. In this issue we look at these girls engaging in these practices, sometimes on their own and sometimes in small groups, how and when they engage in them and where they do so. These include the long-standing practice of girls engaging in child care as babysitters, playing with dolls (in the case of younger girls) or reading fashion magazines (in the case of older girls). These activities take place in different locations, some of which have been associated historically with girlhood, such as a girl’s bedroom or a school classroom, and others which have been more recently appropriated by girls as congenial spaces, such as shopping malls, movie theaters and the internet.

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Denise Carter

With the continuing movement of social life into new types of places such as cyberspace the function and meaning of gift-exchange has emerged as being an important anthropological tool for the investigation of social relations online. In cyberspace several fascinating questions come into light, for example: what kinds of gifts are exchanged in cyberspace; how are these gifts exchanged there and what does the exchange of gifts in cyberspace signify? An analysis of the 'gift of time' is particularly pertinent when investigating friendship in virtual communities because gift exchange in cyberspace can be related to notions of reciprocity and trust. For example, my own ethnographic research in Cybertown, a virtual community on the Internet, suggests that one important concept for friendship in Cybertown is the exchange of the 'gift of time', and highlights its role in the creation of trust and reciprocity. In explaining this phenomenon, this paper examines the function and meaning of gift exchange in Cybertown in relation to contemporary theoretical notions of the gift, explains what kinds of obligations gifts engender and what role gift practices play in creating networks of friendship.

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Massimo Florio

During 2006, Telecom Italia—the most important of Italy’s entirely privatized

companies and one of the largest in the country in terms of market

capitalization, profit, employment, and technological wealth—ran into

political controversy. On 11 September, CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera

presented the company’s board with a strategic plan that, breaking with

the course followed the previous year, foresaw the unbundling of three

divisions: Telecom Italia (TI, landline telephone services, Internet, and

media operations), Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM, mobile telephone services),

and Telecom Italia Rete (the network operator). In the days following

the announcement, the government claimed that it had been kept

in the dark about the proposal despite a series of meetings with the TI

board. The press nevertheless revealed that one of Romano Prodi’s advisers

had sent Tronchetti an alternative plan that would have allowed the

purchase of the landline network by the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (Deposit

and Loans Fund), a holding group controlled by the Ministry of Finance.

Prodi denied any knowledge of this plan in Parliament (his adviser subsequently

resigned).

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Thomas K. Hubbard

Adolescent sexuality has been at the forefront of the recent “Culture Wars,” as is clear from the many news stories and political battles over issues such as sex education, teen pregnancy and STDs, Child Sexual Abuse, enhanced legal regulation of sex offenders, pedophiles on the internet, “sexting” and child pornography. On the one hand adolescents today are more sexually mature than at most historical periods: physical puberty occurs ever earlier (Moller, 1987), while children’s capacity to access the same media as adults grows ever more sophisticated. Already in 1982, Neil Postman presciently observed that electronic media had obliterated the historical technological superiority of literate adults relative to not‐yet‐fully-literate children (Postman, 1982). At that point, he was thinking mainly of television, but his observation has become even more true in the digital age, when adolescents are often the ones teaching their parents and grandparents. 1982 had not yet grasped what would be the ubiquity of MTV or cheap, highly graphic visual pornography in many parents’ closets, or if not there, on their kids’ computer screens. Children have become the most clever at accessing media at precisely the time when popular media culture is more saturated with verbal, musical, and visual images of sexuality than ever before.