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Title:Women on the net: An exploratory study of gender dynamics on the soc.women computer network
Author(s):Ebben, Maureen Majella
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Kramarae, Cheris
Department / Program:Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Women's Studies
Speech Communication
Education, Technology of
Abstract:My goal in this project was to illuminate some of the workings of gender in computer-mediated interactions. I observed that, although much of the research on electronic communication valorized the media's ability to foster open and democratic exchanges, little of this research actually took gender into account. In this project, attention was paid to women's experiences of computer-mediated interaction in the Soc.women computer network newsgroup.
The qualitative methodology of triangulation was used to understand the communicative atmosphere of the Soc.women forum. This included observations of the computer network for several months and close coding and analysis of one month of computer network transcripts. In addition, women participants who contributed to the forum during the period analyzed were mailed a survey electronically which asked them about their perceptions and experiences in the Soc.women forum.
I found that explanations of computer-mediated dynamics that focused primarily on the status leveling effects or the "free flow" of information afforded by computer networks were missing the gendered dimension of the discussions. This research revealed that many women's online experiences were negative--largely because the discursive space was dominated by contentious patterns of interaction in which the women felt threatened and unsatisfied. I believe that this study provides a starting point to begin to address the gender dynamics of on-line discussions.
Issue Date:1994
Rights Information:Copyright 1994 Ebben, Maureen Majella
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9512352
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9512352

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