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She-Hackers: Millennials and Gender in European F/LOSS Subcultures

Kat Braybrooke
Chaos Communication Camp 2011
Indexed on
Mar 27, 2013
File name
File size
429.4 MB

In 2002, Ghosh et al released a study which found that in F/LOSS coder/hacker communities, only 1.5% of members were female. This participation-heavy session is about the challenges of immersive ethnographic research in a time of gender transformation. First, a bit about my background. My name is Kat Braybrooke, I'm a Canadian from Vancouver, and I am currently finishing my MSc thesis for University College London's Digital Anthropology program regarding the role of gender in FLOSS hacker and coder cultures. For this thesis (abstract at http://shehackers.kaibray.com), I engaged in a combination of phenomenological immersivity and informant relationship-building with over 30 hackers and coders (male and female) in hackspaces and recursive tech/'geek' cultures across Europe. When I started my research, I had specific assumptions about who I wanted to talk to and what I thought I'd find. However, through the process of engaging with the spaces and individuals involved in these communities, I have come to realize how incorrect these assumptions were - and I'm hoping these realizations can be of benefit future social scientists, anthropologist and media theorists studying recursive subcultures in periods of ultramodern transformation. This session is about group participation - discussion, debate, criticism and new ideas. I'm not here to tell you who you are. Instead, I want to learn what you, as Chaos Camp attendees, think of these sorts of academic studies of your own communities, and how you feel my methodology can be improved upon. While I'm a self-defined 'geek', I am the outsider here - so before I publish this research, I'd love to hear how my understandings can be improved.

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