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Call for Papers for the M&K special issue "Technik – Medien – Geschlecht revisited. Gender im Kontext von Datafizierung, Algorithmen und digitalen Medientechnologien"

Call for Papers for the M&K special issue "Technik – Medien – Geschlecht revisited. Gender im Kontext von Datafizierung, Algorithmen und digitalen Medientechnologien"

Current questions and findings on the relationships between the construction of gender and digital media technology (devices and applications) will be presented in theoretical and empirical articles in the thematic issue of M&K. Guest editors are Corinna Peil, Kathrin Müller, Ricarda Drüeke, Stephan Niemand and Ulrike Roth.

Questions about the connection between technology, media and gender are given new relevance in view of the current close intermeshing of media technology and economic dynamics as well as the emergence of ever-new media technologies and software-based applications. Two developments can be identified as central fields: the dynamic differentiation of media technologies in the form of devices and services that can be networked in many ways and are omnipresent on the one hand, and multi-layered processes of data processing on the other. Both are increasingly finding their way into people's everyday lives and in both the category of gender is effective at multiple levels. In this context, gender plays a central role as a social category, in particular through the discursive and social linking of technology and masculinity, which has an influence on the development, participation, modes of appropriation and social significance of technological innovations.

Gender studies in the field of communication science has made it clear, both with regard to classical media such as radio and television and with regard to early digital technologies, that the understanding and use of media technologies do not primarily depend on their technological potential, but are based on social attributions. Thugs, gender is inscribed in techniques and technologies and shapes their use. Such construction processes were first elaborated at the end of the 1980s in the ethnographic appropriation research of British cultural media studies and later further theorized in the domestication approach with its concept of the double articulation of media.

In view of the current increase in importance of data-driven processes and automated communication processes, studies on the gendering of data traces and data collections and their consequences and their interpretation represent a desideratum of research that needs to be filled, especially in connection with the analysis of further inequalities. Self-learning machines cannot only reproduce social inequalities, they can also reinforce them, and for example, when data sets solidify sexist distortions, position users unequally and make social diversity invisible. Algorithm-based systems and decision-making processes pose new challenges for communication (gender) research, which the issue will explicitly address. The topic "Technik – Media – Geschlecht revisited [Technology - Media - Gender revisited]" is thus not only to be thought of starting from a changing media-related hardware environment, but also to give impetus to discuss gender issues in the context of new software applications and data processing processes.

Against this background, the M&K thematic issue invites reflection and discussion on further developments and new perspectives in the relationship between technology, media and gender from the point of view of communication science (and gender research). It aims to bring together contributions that address current questions and findings on the relationships between the construction of gender and digital media technology (devices and applications) and offer theoretical and empirical insights. In this context, questions of power relations, inequalities and societal potential for change are to be given special consideration across the board.

The following fields and questions seem particularly interesting for an examination of the tension between "technology - media - gender":
  • Datafication, Automation, Artificial Intelligence and Gender: To what extent do gender stereotypes and notions of bisexuality influence the development of algorithmic systems? How can binary categories such as male and female be avoided by datafication?
  • Gender-based expertise and appropriation of new technologies: To what extent do stable gender constructions shape the appropriation of new digital media technologies? To what extent can the emergence of digital media technologies and applications provide new impulses for the negotiation of gender constructions?
  • Media representations of technology and gender: What are the attributions of masculinity and femininity to digital media technologies? What representations of technology and gender can be found in digital media and how are they received?
  • Social counter-movements, reinterpretations and interventions in digitisation processes: What opportunities and risks do digital media technologies offer for the organisation and communication of social formations (e.g. feminist publics, maker communities) that aim to change social (gender) relations?
Colleagues who would like to contribute to this issue are invited to send an extended abstract of their manuscript to the editorial office by 15 November 2019 (max. 6,000 letters incl. spaces). On the basis of the abstracts, the editors and the guest editors will draw up a concept and invite the authors to submit a manuscript by the end of February 2020. The acceptance of the manuscripts will be decided according to M&K's usual review procedure. The issue will be published in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Address: Redaktion Medien & Kommunikationswissenschaft, Christiane Matzen, c.matzen@leibniz-hbi.de

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash


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