Questioning Gender through Transformative Critical Rooms

Questioning Gender through Transformative Critical Rooms

Cecile K.M. Crutzen (Open University of The Netherlands, The Netherlands) and Erna Kotkamp (Utrecht University, The Netherlands)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-815-4.ch165
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Using the discourse of Gender Studies (Harding, 1986), proves to be a fruitful strategy to question methods, theories and practices of the Informatics discipline (Suchman, 1994a, 1994b). It shows the problematic notion of the binary opposition of use-design and it uncovers the objectification of both users and designers in ICT-representations in the designing process (Crutzen, 1997, 2000a, 2000b). To further this analysis of the informatics discipline the concept of the transformative critical room is a very important one. A transformative critical room creates space where the interpretation of ICT-representations can be negotiated and where doubt can occur as a constructive strategy. Creating these rooms require actors who already have a habit of causing doubt and who accept that truths are always situated. Within gender studies these concepts of situated knowledge’s and the critical assessment of subject-object relations are at the core of many feminist theories (Crutzen, 2003; Crutzen & Kotkamp, 2006). A transformative critical room where a feminist analysis is of great importance is the room where interactions take place between human actors and ICT-representations. In this interaction, the meaning of “use” needs to be reconstructed. Using ICT representations imply the (re)design of a flexible environment where the connection between human and non-human actors can always be disconnected. When introducing this possible disruption in these ICT-representations it shows that the activities of use and design occur simultaneously with a process of learning. This means that designing is always an ongoing process where change takes place and where actability becomes an important condition.

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