Halford, Susan, Lotherington, Ann Therese, Dyb, Kari and Obstfelder, Aud
Un/doing gender with ICT?
NORA: Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Studies, 18, (1), . (doi:10.1080/08038741003626791).
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What might new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) at work do for gender? This question is explored here through an empirical study that traces the introduction of one ICT application - an electronic patient record (EPR) - into medical and nursing work in a large university hospital in Norway. Healthcare work is well documented as a highly gendered field, where normalizing gender practices have dominated. The aim of this article is to explore emergent configurations of gender, ICT and healthcare work following the introduction of the EPR. Drawing on Judith Butler’s (1999; 2004) conceptualization of performativity, where gender is produced only as it is cited in everyday practice, our aim is to pay attention to both the normative and the disruptive moments in the configuration of gender, ICT and healthcare practice. In this article we challenge earlier accounts of relations between gender and technology – both optimistic and pessimistic - which we believe constrain understandings of gender within familiar masculine/feminine binaries. We suggest that in order to understand gender and work in modern healthcare we must analyse the performative co-constitution of gender, technology and work in everyday practices. Our findings show that the interplay of gender, work and technology, might, in fact, disrupt gender norms in ways that challenge the normative gender instance and may offer potentials for performing identities that move beyond the familiar gendered categories of the past
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