Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age

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MIT Press, Sep 21, 2012 - Technology & Engineering - 288 pages
The realities of the high-tech global economy for women and families in the United States.

The idea that technology will pave the road to prosperity has been promoted through both boom and bust. Today we are told that universal broadband access, high-tech jobs, and cutting-edge science will pull us out of our current economic downturn and move us toward social and economic equality. In Digital Dead End, Virginia Eubanks argues that to believe this is to engage in a kind of magical thinking: a technological utopia will come about simply because we want it to. This vision of the miraculous power of high-tech development is driven by flawed assumptions about race, class, and gender. The realities of the information age are more complicated, particularly for poor and working-class women and families. For them, information technology can be both a tool of liberation and a means of oppression.

But despite the inequities of the high-tech global economy, optimism and innovation flourished when Eubanks worked with a community of resourceful women living at her local YWCA. Eubanks describes a new approach to creating a broadly inclusive and empowering “technology for people,” popular technology, which entails shifting the focus from teaching technical skill to nurturing critical technological citizenship, building resources for learning, and fostering social movement.

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Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age

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Eubanks (women's studies, SUNY at Albany), an antipoverty and welfare rights organizer, vehemently argues against many of the central ideas held by today's information economy pundits, scholars, and ... Read full review

Contents

1 Four Beginnings
1
2 The Real World of Information Technology
23
3 Trapped in the Digital Divide
35
4 Drowning in the SinkorSwim Economy
49
5 Technologies of Citizenship
81
6 Popular Technology
99
7 Cognitive Justice and Critical Technological Citizenship
129
A HighTech Equity Agenda
153
Research Methodology
171
WYMSM Sample Agendas
181
Popular Technology Sample Exercises
193
Popular Technology Projects Undertaken at the YWCA of TroyCohoes
215
Notes
219
References
239
Index
259
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About the author (2012)

Virginia Eubanks is the cofounder of Our Knowledge, Our Power (OKOP), a grassroots anti-poverty and welfare rights organization, and is Associate Professor in the Department of Women's Studies at the University at Albany, SUNY.

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