Article ID: CBB903684763

Code Switch: Alternative Visions of Computer Expertise as Empowerment from the 1960s to the 2010s (October 2018)


Abbate, Janet (Author)

Technology and Culture
Volume: 59
Issue: 5, supplement
Pages: S134-S159

Publication Date: October 2018
Edition Details: Supplemental issue of Technology and Culture (October 2018): Shift CTRL. Computing and New Media as Global, Cultural, Sociopolitical, and Ecological
Language: English

In the 2010s, claims that learning to program would bring economic success for disadvantaged groups became ubiquitous in American public discourse. Although the coding movement presented itself as radically new, it recapitulated earlier framings of computing skill as a mechanism for empowerment. Using examples from the early history of computing and the twenty-first-century coding movement, I show how programming skill has been variously constructed as a shift of power from management to labor, a means of economic uplift for minorities, or a thinking tool for children. I argue that coding initiatives have always been embedded in politics and that the specific types of power associated with computer skill have been tied to the social identities of coding proponents and their intended beneficiaries. I contrast coding efforts controlled by dominant industry and research groups with grassroots efforts by women and minorities that reveal oppositional logics for empowerment based on radical questioning of both the nature and the ultimate purpose of coding.

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Article Thomas S. Mullaney (October 2018) Shift CTRL. Computing and New Media as Global, Cultural, Sociopolitical, and Ecological. Technology and Culture (pp. 1-6). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Misa, Thomas J.
Tinn, Honghong
Jaroslav Švelch
Bogdan Hoanca
Rojas, Raúl
Spafford, Eugene H.
IEEE Annals of the History of Computing
Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Technology and Culture
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine
The Bridge: Journal of the National Academy of Engineering
Technology's Stories
The MIT Press
Amsterdam University Press
Independently published
Edizioni Dedalo
Göttingen Wallstein Verlag
Computers and computing
History of Computing
Computer Programming
Users of technology
Technology and society
Computer Simulation
Dijkstra, Edsger Wybe
Babbage, Charles
Mortimer Taube
Ulery, Dana
Time Periods
20th century
21st century
19th century
United States
New Zealand
Škoda (Firm)
California Institute of Technology. Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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