3 May 2012
Venue: Room 501 (Pat Hanan Room), Arts 2 (Building 207)
Host: Valentina Cardo
The development and proliferation of internet technology was expected to have a profound influence on many aspects of civic life. One of the most often cited examples of this process is in political communication and campaigning, where many have argued that the web would empower previously marginalised groups (see, for example Rheingold, 2000; Shirky, 2008; Trippi, 2004). The reality has however been somewhat different. Research on women's online participation suggests that the blogosphere and web discussion boards
are likely to be disproportionately dominated by men (Davis, 2005; Stromer-Galley & Wichowsky, 2010). Similarly, technofeminist critique has argued that the creation and engineering of new tools overwhelmingly remains a male preserve (Wajcman, 2004). However, there is some evidence to counteract these pessimistic readings. Social science scholars have begun to argue that women use the internet, and in particular blogs, as a form of political activism (Nath, 2006; Simmons, 2008). This latter development has received particular media interest, evidenced by the branding of the 2010 UK Election as the "Mumsnet Election" by some elements of the press (Davies, 2010). Within this framework, this paper investigates how women's pressure groups are using new communication technologies to change the political agenda. My aim is to shed light on the consequences that new media have on political processes and practices in relation to gender.
Dr Valentina Cardo is a lecturer in the Department of Film, Television and Media Studies at the University of Auckland. Her research interests include political communication, new media, feminist political theory, and popular culture and politics. She has published articles and book chapters on reality television and politics, and women politicians and popular culture. Her current research project addresses the relationship between ideology, gender, organisational type and communication technology in women’s media activism.
Drinks and snacks to follow.