“I don’t mind the Gnomes, but I’m always worried about tripping over one”

This is an Elvish joke from World of Warcraft, one that “I as Another”, a Night Elf, could have told, while walking around in Azeroth doing research for our book on World of Warcraft, Digital Culture, Play, and Identity, many years ago.

… on becoming an elf in World of Warcraft, a game universe, where you first become by choosing character. I chose night elf because she looked nice and the night elves’ natureculture seemed friendly … Then you become by being told what your role is in the gameworld – to defend the home of the night elves, the children of the stars, against further corruption of evil forces, and by walking around in the elven landscape you realize that you are in fact an elf among others who greet you in elven ways with a warm “Elune-adore” and hail you into being an elf. … The world has a role for you; you walk like it and talk like it, and the character has a mission of her own, ignorant to my human self’s workload, appointments or restless dogs.

I was reminded about this when looking for some old stuff, and found this short piece. I was invited to write this in 2010 for CIAC’s Electronic Magazine, from the perspective of “I as Another” in relation to a video game avatar. And of course I did add a feminist perspective – comparing feminism and video games.

This world is not ridden by the dilemma of feminism, of women being one group or several groups. And neither is it ridden by messy identities or blurred boundaries. Instead, this is a neatly ordered world.

It wasn’t online at CIAC’s site anymore, but you can read it here

New publication on video gaming and immigrant youth in Norway

This year has been good for publications! We have a new chapter on immigrant youth and video gaming out today, published with Emerald in Volume 16 – Media and Power in International Contexts: Perspectives on Agency and Identity, edited by: Apryl A. Williams, Ruth Tsuria, Laura Robinson, Aneka Khilnani

Chapter 7 – Manifestations and Contestations of Hegemony in Video Gaming by Immigrant Youth in Norway

by Carol Azungi Dralega and Hilde G. Corneliussen

Abstract
This chapter reports from a qualitative study on how identity categories, including gender and ethnicity, are experienced and constructed through video gaming among immigrant youth in Norway. The aim here is to explore the manifestations and contestations of gendered power and hegemonic practices among the young immigrant girls and boys. This chapter builds on research about everyday media use especially video games, and our analysis is based on theories of hegemony, power, gender, and ethnicity. Three key findings are observed from the study: (a) video games acting as a bridge between ethnic minority boys (not so much with the girls) and ethnic Norwegians, (b) hegemonic gendered practices, emphasizing the “otherness,” in particular for girls adhering to the category of gamer, and finally, to a lesser degree, (c) marginalization within video games on the basis of being a non-Western youth in a Western context. As such the study simultaneously not only confirms but also challenges dominant discourses on video games by suggesting that, although some positive strides have been made, the claims of a post-gender neutral online world, or celebrations of an inclusive and democratic online media culture, especially video gaming, are still premature.

A big thank you to Carol for her effort and for a great team!

ICT Changes Everything! But Who Changes ICT?

Last week at the IFIP TC9 Human Choice and Computing conference in Poznan with the title “This Changes Everything” – to present our paper – me, Radhika Gajjala and Clem Herman, with the title “ICT Changes Everything! But Who Changes ICT?”

Abstract below or look for the full text here.

Information and communication technology (ICT) has a changing power and digitalization is gradually changing society in all aspects of life. Across the western world, men are in majority in the ICT industry, thus, the computer programs that change “everything” are most often made by men. Unless questioned, this male dominance can be perceived as a “norm” and becomes invisible. Against this background, this paper will provide three examples of how a feminist gaze can contribute to raise important questions and produce an awareness of how exclusion mechanisms have produce a highly homosocial tendency in design of ICT systems in the western world.

The three cases illustrate how a feminist gaze leading to feminist interventions can make a difference in various ways. The first author presents a case study of a pilot for involving programming in public education in secondary schools in Norway, where a complete lack of gender awareness makes this an offer for boys in most schools. Author two presents a case study comparing the situation in the IT business in the UK and India, finding challenges not only to the situation in the western world, but also to white western feminism. Author three discusses alternatives ways of involving women in ICT work, through practices of feminist pedagogy, emphasizing hands-on work.

Author price for our new chapter on Immigrant youth and gaming

We were surprised with a very nice price last week: the author price for Fjordkonferansen. for our contribution to this year’s anthology – based on last year’s conference:

Kapittel 11: Gaming and identity construction among immigrant youth in Norway — Convergent glocal contexts, by Carol Azungi Dralega og Hilde G. Corneliussen

Molde University College posted a very nice piece about us – here. The photo is from the conference last year.

Read the full paper – open access – here.

Abstract:

This study explores how immigrant youth in Norway navigate video games between local and global contexts and how this shapes their identities. Drawing from theories of transnationalism, gender and technology, the study employs qualitative methodologies that unravel complex identity manifestations that are globally connected but locally anchored. Rather than an often-used dual frame of reference, the authors suggest interpreting this through a multiple frame of reference.

 

“A wasted opportunity for inclusion” – new publication on programming in school

Our new article (with Fay Tveranger) is out, online, open access for anyone to read!

  • Hilde G. Corneliussen and Fay Tveranger. 2018. Programming in secondary schools in Norway – a wasted opportunity for inclusion. In Proceedings of Gender&IT’18, Heilbronn, Germany, May 2018 (Gender&IT’18), ACM, New York, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.1145/3196839.3196867

It will be presented tomorrow at the so far brilliant Gender & IT 2018 conference. For those of you who won’t be there, here’s the abstract, and then go and read the whole thing here: https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=3196839.3196867

This paper discusses a pilot introducing programming as anelective in Norwegian secondary schools. Computing is a male dominated field, in Norway as in other European and Western countries. Despite the male dominance in the field, there were no gender inclusion or diversity measures included in the pilot . Theresult is an elective heavily dominated by boys and a wasted chance of attracting girls to computing.

 

Could Code Clubs be a New Arena for Increasing Girls’ Digital Interest and Competence?

Kids Code in a Rural Village in Norway: Could Code Clubs be a New Arena for Increasing Girls’ Digital Interest and Competence?, in Information, Communication & Society, 19:1, 95-110, DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2015.1093529

I published this article together with Lin Prøitz in 2015, and it is now available from ICS and in a postprint version at ResearchGate: https://bit.ly/2HNg5I0

Abstract

A trend, where voluntary groups teach children and youth basic computer coding skills, has spread throughout the world. After-school clubs invite children to create games in visual programming environments. The activities emphasize play, while teaching principles of computer science. We explore this phenomenon based on observations and interviews at a code club in Norway, asking whether coding represents an important skill for children and how it is distributed to include all children. We find that coding through play activity is perceived as teaching more than simply the technical skills of programming. Although the fun aspect draws in children and volunteers, parents and instructors describe the code club as being about learning to understand and control the computer, and digital competence required for achieving success in society. The Code Club is described partly as being a ‘necessity for becoming a good/efficient/empowered citizen in our digital society’, and partly as ‘children are playing with computers anyway’. These arguments have different consequences for the gender imbalance at the Code Club. Our findings suggest that the code clubs need an explicit recruitment strategy targeting girls in order to become an arena where girls can develop interest and competence in digital technologies.

Read the full article.

This topic has unfortunately only become more relevant and it is urgent to discuss the low proportion of girls participating in programming. In about two weeks I will have a new article out on programming for youth, this time about programming in secondary schools in Norway (together with Fay Tveranger).

Two new publications – open access

Fjordantologien 2017 is out, and I’m involved in two chapters – all open access!

Kapittel 4: Mediebruk, samfunnsengasjement og sosial kapital i en digital æra: På jakt etter minoritetskvinner sine stemmer

Abstract: This chapter draws from a project studying non-western immigrant women and their use of media related to social engagement. The authors explore social capital, including the digital, analysed through two women’s life biographies, community involvement and media use. Engaged in different arenas they illustrate different manifestations of social capital, one of them shows a high degree of digital social capital, while the other deploys alternative media.

 

Kapittel 9: Om teknologien som ikke fikk være teknologi – diskurser om velferdsteknologi

Abstract: Inspired by Foucault, we explore meaning created by the health authorities’ policy documents on welfare technology. We explore the meaning construction of a «technology-reducing» claim stating that «welfare technology is not about technology, but about human beings». The scientific essay illustrates how this and similar claims have gained widespread acceptance and discusses some of the effects this type of policy statements has for the users of welfare technology.

Ny rapport: Hvordan møter skolen økt frivillig engasjement for å lære barn koding?

Hilde G. Corneliussen og Lin Prøitz: Hvordan møter skolen økt frivillig engasjement for å lære barn koding? – erfaringer med koding for barn i og utenfor skolen, Vestlandsforsking-rapport nr. 6/2015

Last ned rapporten: http://www.vestforsk.no/rapport/hvordan-moter-skolen-okt-frivillig-engasjement-for-aa-laere-barn-koding

Rapporten beskriver og drøfter funn fra forprosjektet “Innovasjon i utdanning: Hvordan møter skolen økt frivillig engasjement for å lære barn koding? – Erfaringer fra Leikanger kommune”. Hovedmål er å kartlegge erfaringer fra tilbud om koding for barn innenfor og utenfor skolen for å undersøke i hvilken grad dette representerer inkluderende opplæring og hvordan det samspiller med skolens oppgave. Som resultat skal forprosjektet identifisere hvilke kunnskapsbehov skolen har i møtet med den frivillige bevegelsen som har trådt inn som en ny premissleverandør for barns digitale kompetanse. Første del er i sin helhet utført av forskerne Hilde G. Corneliussen og Lin Prøitz, mens andre del er basert på skolens egen evaluering av kodeaktivitet i skolen, der Corneliussen og Prøitz har bidratt med dialog og fungert som forfattere i rapporten. Studien er godkjent av Personvernforbunet for forskning, Norsk samfunnsvitenskapelig datatjeneste.