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Title: Women reading online : the gendered process of developing new literacy practices
Author: Attar, Dena Wardah.
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2003
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This thesis examines the experiences of women becoming Internet users and readers of online texts. Millions of women in the UK began to access websites and exchange emails for the first time in the late 1990s and beginning of the 215' century. The existence of a gender gap amongst earlier adopters revealed that there must be particular obstacles facing women as new users and readers, which the thesis sets out to investigate using a multi-disciplinary approach and a range of research methods. The data is drawn from three distinct sources. First, sixteen female and six male readers were observed and interviewed while accessing their own choice of websites. This produced data on texts-in-use in conjunction with audiotaped literacy events, taking the method pioneered in schools by the Fact and Fiction Project, in its study of gender and literacy, in a new direction. Secondly, data on adult women learning to use the Internet was gathered in the form of a reflexive account of teaching beginners' classes between 2000 and 2002 at an inner-London public access location. Thirdly, women's reactions to one specific online text, an emailed petition about women in Afghanistan, were explored through an analysis of emails and comments made in interviews. The analysis situates reading online as a socially constructed literacy practice while stressing the distinctiveness of individual literacy events. It is argued that some events have particular significance, impeding or assisting the process of developing a repertoire of new literacy practices. The obstacles women face are identified as linked to the dominance of particular online texts, gendered power relations in the home and workplace, and previous educational experiences. Opportunities to create as well as read, and feeling sufficiently in control of work, access and technology, are identified as key factors in becoming a confident online reader
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Internet users Education Sociology Human services Literature Mass media Performing arts