Title

"To Boldly Go (Where No Man Has Gone Before)": Women and Politics in Cyberspace

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 10-1-2001

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Abstract

In this article we examine competing perspectives on new technologies paying particular attention to the interpretations of language offered by poststructuralists as well as variant strands of feminism. In borrowing from these theories, we attempt to spell out some of the implications of new technologies to the lives of women, especially the manner in which they construct new language systems, new subject positions, and ultimately new political practices. Throughout the article, we maintain that cyberspace communication challenges traditional concepts of language, and by extension traditional constructions of historical agents as masculine and rational actors. In its place, these new technologies provide a context for more fluid formations of language which themselves are largely void of many of the cultural indicators (such as age, race, sex, or physical appearance) which have constricted women's expression. Ultimately, while we are optimistic about the opportunities which cyberspace creates for women users and feminist politics in general, we also recognize a number of limitations to these opportunities. In particular, we conclude this article with a discussion of how questions of authenticity and ownership of information, which are necessary attendents of cyberspace anonymity, have mitigated against communication between and by women.

Comments

Also published in The Politics of Cyberspace, Chris Toulouse and Timothy W. Luke, eds., New York and London: Routledge, 144-166.

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