Feminist technoscience

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Feminist technoscience is a transdisciplinary field that emerged from decades of feminist critiques, and became an amalgamation(unite) of the study of feminism and science, technology and society (STS). It can also be referred to as feminist science studies, feminist cultural studies of science, feminist studies of science and technology, or technology, gender and science.

Feminist technoscience is inspired by social constructionist approaches to gender, sex, intersectionalities, society, science and technology. Feminist technoscience addresses among other issues gender questions regarding science and technology.[1][2][3]


According to Judy Wajcman, the concept of technology has historically been bounded to women, their role as harvesters or caretakers of the domestic economy make them the first technologists, and the concealment of this fact is only a cultural strategy which strongly associates technology with masculinity.[citation needed] The “male machines” replaced the “female wits” as identifiers of modern technology when engineering was considered as masculine profession.[4]

During the 1970s, the emerging feminist movement about ecofeminism and health considered science and technology as business opposed to the interests of women. In the 1980s, Sandra Harding proposed "the female question in science" to raise "the question of the science in feminism ', claiming that science is involved in projects that are not only neutral and objective, but that are strongly linked to male interests.[4] It emerged from feminist critiques of science, which have revealed the ways in which gender is entangled in natural, medical and technical sciences as well as in the sociotechnical networks and practices of a globalized world.[5]

Technofeminism emerged in the early 1980s, leaning on the different feminist movements. The feminist scholars reanalyzed the Scientific Revolution, and stated that the resulting science was based on the masculine ideology of exploiting the Earth and control. This depended on the use of the gender imagery to conceptualize the nature. In this period, which lasted until the end of the decade, feminist interest in science and technology studies were mostly grounded in the understanding of science and technology. Household technologies, new media, and new technosciences were, for the most part, disregarded.[6]

Today’s feminist critique often uses the former demonology of technology as a point of departure to tell a story of progress from liberal to postmodern feminism. According to Judy Wajcman, both liberal and Marxist feminist failed in the analysis of science and technology, because they considered the technology as neutral and did not pay attention to the symbolic dimension of technoscience.[7]

Central questions

Feminist technologies are ones that are formed from feminist social relations, but varied definitions and layers of feminism complicates the definition. Deborah Johnson[8] proposes four candidates for feminist technologies:

  • Technologies that are good for women
  • Technologies that constitute gender-equitable social relations
  • Technologies that favor women
  • Technologies that constitute social relations that are more equitable than those that were constituted by a prior technology or than those that prevail in the wider society

One example of technology that is associated with feminism, but may not be feminist, is birth control. Numerous feminists have fought for birth control to promote women’s liberation. Another example is Virginia Slims, a brand of cigarettes, that were advertised as feminist cigarettes and promoted as a sign of liberation and freedom. It helped to make it more socially acceptable for women to smoke, but it also differentiated women from men. In addition to the degree of separation, this product is every bit as harmful to women as any other brand of cigarettes are to men. There are many scholars who focus on the binary of technology and feminism, such as Donna Haraway.

See also


  1. Law, John; Singleton, Vicky (2000). "Performing Technology's Stories: On Social Constructivism, Performance, and Performativity" (PDF). Technology and Culture. 41 (4): 765–775. doi:10.1353/tech.2000.0167. 
  2. Wajcman, Judy (June 2007). "From Women and Technology to Gendered Technoscience" (PDF). Information, Communication & Society. 10 (3): 287–298. doi:10.1080/13691180701409770. 
  3. Weber, Jutta (2006). From Science and Technology to Feminist Technoscience (PDF). Handbook of Gender and Women's Studies. Davis K, Evans M, Lorber J. p. 397-414. ISBN 9780761943907. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Wajcman, Judy (2004). Technofeminism (Réimpr. 2005. ed.). Cambridge, United Kingdom: Polity. ISBN 0-7456-3043-X. 
  5. Asberg, C.; Lykke, N. (5 November 2010). "Feminist technoscience studies". European Journal of Women's Studies. 17 (4): 299–305. doi:10.1177/1350506810377692. 
  6. Davis, Kathy, ed. (2006). Handbook of gender and women's studies (1. publ. ed.). London [u.a.]: Sage. ISBN 9780761943907. 
  7. Wajcman, Judy (2004). Technofeminism (Réimpr. 2005. ed.). Cambridge, United Kingdom: Polity. pp. 25–26. ISBN 0-7456-3043-X. 
  8. Johnson, Deborah G. (2010). "Sorting out the question of feminist technology" (PDF). Feminist technology: 6. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 


External links