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Communication Technology

Technology and Women’s Voices: Keeping in Touch

Technology and Women’s Voices:
Keeping in Touch
Cheris Kramarae (ed)Routledge & Kegan
Paul
1988

I feel like asking my boss, “What do you think I am – an extension of the machine?”

Clerical worker quoted in Race Against Time

When we put women at the centre of discussion of technological processes, male biases and ideologies become clearer: the questions and answers change. This book does just that, focusing upon gender to understand the social relations of technological processes.
The contributors investigate women’s talk as part of the technological environment in which it occurs, and argue that technology has made a lasting impact on women’s communication. The articles trace the operations of several innovations (including electricity, telephone, washing machine, public transport, car, printing press, microphone, sewing machine and computer), and explore their effects on women’s social interaction. The histories of these innovations are followed up with a broader discussion of how all technological practices affect the ways, places, times and content of talk and writing. The authors consider technologies not as machines but as social relations: transportation and typewriters, for example, are seen as communication systems, encouraging some kinds of interactions and discouraging others.

Collecting book donations to be sent to World War I soldiers. Women speaking loudly in public during World War I seem to have been well accepted when it was in support of the war effort (National Archives) / Technology and Women’s Voices / page 196

Table of Contents

Gotta go Myrtle, technology’s at the door / Cheris Kramarae
Women’s voices/men’s voices: technology as language / Margaret Lowe Benston
Women clerical workers and the typewriter: the writing machine / Margery W. Davies
Computational reticence: why women fear the intimate machine / Sherry Turkle
“Who needs a personality to talk to a machine?”: communicating in the automated office / Anne Machung
Chatting on a feminist computer network / Judy Smith and Ellen Balka
Gender and typographic culture: beginning to unravel the 500-year mystery / Mark Schulman
Women on the move: how public is public transport? / Women and Transport Forum
Putting wheels on women’s sphere / Virginia J. Scharff
Talk of sewing circles and sweatshops / Cheris Kramarae
“Washing, seems it’s all we do”: washing technology and women’s communication / Victoria Leto