Constructing Class Boundaries: Gender, Aspirations, and Shared Computing

Renee Kuriyan, Kathi R. Kitner

Abstract


Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have been referred to as “the great equalizer” between men and women. Our research in India and Chile explores how gender and class identities intersect with ICTs in the context of shared computing environments with telecentres. Our study indicates that although these shared-use projects are implemented in the name of targeting poor women, an “emerging middle class” of women, such as stay-at-home mothers and young, unmarried women, are user groups in these telecentres. Women are constructing identities, trying to cross perceived class boundaries, and maintaining middle class positions through the use of ICTs and their symbolic value. This symbolic value is tied to aspirations of progress, advancement, and upward mobility.

Keywords


class; gender; ICTs; India; Chile; telecentres; emerging middle class; mobility

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