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A Techno-Passion that is Not One: Rethinking Marginality, Exclusion, and Difference

Linda Vigdor


Contemporary portrayals of the gender-computing relationship are limited in their perceptions and constructs. Dependent on overly generalized subjects (girls and women not much interested in computing) and a singular and all-consuming notion of what constitutes a passion for technology, girls and women are cast as uninterested bystanders or moral critics of computing. To varying degrees, girls’ and women’s disinterest is explained as an outcome of their techno-passion gap. Highlighting three women digital artists’ technology stories, I develop an alternative story that plays out in the marginal spaces of artists’ practices, performances, and reflective marginality. I begin with a broad and brief overview of three common gender-technology stories and elucidate some of their limitations. My focus turns to a mainstreamed educational and popular narrative that ‘girls and women just aren’t that into computing’. I argue for an alternate story that finds value in marginality and a web of ambivalent passions and ethical commitments that drive an artist’s interests in technology.


Difference; gender & technology; computing; marginality; performance; situated practice; technological agency; techno-Passion; expert-user

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