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Gender, passion, and 'sticky' technology in a voluntaristically-organized technology makerspace
Department of Education and Special Education, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6050-7020
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3614-1692
Independent Academic, London, UK.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4902-5519
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6413-6538
2023 (English)In: Engineering Studies, ISSN 1937-8629, E-ISSN 1940-8374, Vol. 15, no 2, p. 101-121Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

As 'open' and supposedly inclusive informal learning settings that participants visit out of interest and passion, there has been hope that makerspaces will democratize technology and challenge traditional gender patterns in engineering education. Passion for technology has, however, also been shown to be deeply intertwined with the masculinization of engineering. This article explores how this tension manifests among engineering students and other makers at an 'open' voluntaristically-organized technology makerspace located at the campus of a Swedish university of technology. It draws on a post-structural understanding of gender and Sara Ahmed’s queer phenomenological conceptualization of emotions as 'orienting devices'. Based on ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with makers, we show how passion for technology is articulated as a particularly absorbing emotion that underpins a playful approach to technology and a framing of makers as single-minded and asocial. We demonstrate how passion for technology thereby becomes a homosocial 'glue' that makes technology 'sticky' for only a select group of techno-passionate men. We conclude that this undermines the potential for 'making' to democratize technology and puts into question the degree to which interest-driven, voluntaristic and 'authentic' settings for engaging with technology can contribute to pluralizing engineering.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2023. Vol. 15, no 2, p. 101-121
Keywords [en]
Gender, technology, makerspaces, engineering, passion, ‘stickiness’
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-207034DOI: 10.1080/19378629.2023.2203396ISI: 000972906200001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85153481255OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-207034DiVA, id: diva2:1753099
Part of project
The Geek as gatekeeper? Changing relations between gender, race and technology, Swedish Research Council
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2018-03401Available from: 2023-04-25 Created: 2023-04-25 Last updated: 2023-09-04Bibliographically approved

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Berge, MariaSilfver, Eva

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