Article ID: CBB432615973

Digitizing the “Ideal” Latina Information Worker (2022)


Sweeney, Miriam E. (Author)
Villa-Nicholas, Melissa (Author)

American Quarterly
Volume: 74
Issue: 1
Pages: 145-167
Publication date: 2022
Language: English

Recent examples of virtual assistant technologies designed as Latina information service workers are noteworthy objects of study for their potential to bridge analyses of Latinas’ labor history and information technology. Latinas in the United States have traditionally worked in blue-collar information technology sectors characterized by repetitive labor and low wages, such as electronics manufacturing and customer service. Latina information service workers, though fundamental to technoscience, have been largely invisible in histories of computing. Latina virtual assistants mark a shift in this labor history by relying on the strategic visibility of Latina identity in/as the technology interface. Our research explores Latina virtual assistants designed by Airus Media and installed as airport workers in airports along the southwestern border of the United States. We situate the technocultural narratives present in the design and marketing of these technologies within the broader histories of invisible Latina information labor in the United States. We find continuities between the ways Latinas have historically been positioned as “ideal” information workers and the use of Latina identity in the design of virtual assistants. We argue that the strategic visibility of Latina virtual assistants is linked to the oppressive structures of invisibility that have traditionally organized Latina information service workers.

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Authors & Contributors
Downey, Greg
Aspray, William F.
Banga, Rashmi
Carlsson, Anders
Carr, Nicholas G.
Cortada, James W.
IEEE Annals of the History of Computing
Rutherford Journal: The New Zealand Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
Science Technology and Society
Social Studies of Science
Technology and Culture
MIT Press
University of California, Berkeley
Columbia University
Cambridge University Press
Akademika Publishing
Lexington Books
Information technology
Computer industry
Computers and computing
Labor and laborers
Computer science
Bagrit, Leon, Sir
Coales, John
Hoelzer, Helmut
Von Neumann, John
Zuse, Konrad
Aiken, Howard Hathaway
Time Periods
20th century, late
20th century
21st century
18th century
19th century
20th century, early
United States
Great Britain
California (U.S.)

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