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Title: Globalisation, technology and identity : a feminist study of work cultures in the localisation industry
Author: Malcolm, Irene
ISNI:       0000 0004 2684 0884
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2009
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This work is a feminist study that aims to address a gap in knowledge about the working lives and learning of those employed in electronic, globalising industries, such as localisation. While much is known generally about the under-representation of women in SET (Science, Engineering and Technology), there has been less detailed study that explores the gendering of working lives in electronic knowledge industries which are a crucial part of the technological globalising process. Taking the localisation industry as a case, the present work addresses this lack. Localisation involves making an electronic product or website linguistically and culturally appropriate for people to use in another country/region and language. Workers in the industry adapt printed and electronic texts (and products) for distribution in overseas markets. The study is based on interviews with 10 workers and company owners from the UK, continental Europe, Ireland and South America. A critical feminist approach supports the analysis of interview data using CDA (Critical Discourse Analysis), and participant observation at a conference to reveal power relations which are seemingly hidden in the virtual sphere. Remote forms of working, mediated through the use of ICTs (Information and Communications Technologies) predominate in the industry. The findings are presented in three areas of analysis. Firstly, in relation to workers’ identities the study revealed that technology was a discursive resource used symbolically. While technology represented quality, domestication was used antithetically to indicate its lack. In the analysis this constituted a technologisation of identities. Secondly, workers’ learning trajectories revealed tensions in between knowledge work and accreditation. In relation to technology per se, image creation was central to localisation and the separation of the image from work practices concealed workers’ contributions. In this way the emotional labour invested in the production of the localised image was hidden. Thirdly, the study revealed ways in which global structures interacted with industry boundaries and intersected gendered cultures with implications for professional learning.
Supervisor: Plowman, Lydia Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Electronic apparatus and appliance ; Work ethic ; Women in science ; Women in engineering ; Women in technology