a feminist technology blog

Month: May 2006 (Page 1 of 2)

links for 2006-05-23

links for 2006-05-18

derrida on word processors

I’m taking my PhD candidacy exams this week hence my long absence. I bet you didn’t know Derrida wrote about word processors, quite a bit. (Maybe you did. I think most of the people reading this are just as overeducated as I am.)

Two quotes from Derrida’s Paper Machine.

“I’ve recently started using the mechanical spell-check. It’s instructive, too: what are the words that are not regarded as normal or acceptable in French usage, and so remain censored, these days by the contemporary dictionary incorporated in the machine, as they would be by some other readership, some other media power for instance?” (26)


LA QUINZAINE LITTERAIRE: You can tell who’s the master– the one with no machine on the desk.

DERRIDA: It’s the old figure of the master– the political leader, the thinker, the poet. No machine. No direct relationship with the machine. The relationship with the machine is secondary, auxiliary, mediated by the secretary-slave– too often, and it’s not accidental, by the woman secretary. We should speak about the word processor, power, and sexual difference. Power has to be able to be mediated, if not delegated, in order to exist. At any rate– and this is not always different– to appear.

links for 2006-05-11

Link roundup for May 10, 2006


Just got a $1mil grant from MS.

links for 2006-05-08

links for 2006-05-07

links for 2006-05-04

links for 2006-05-02


I met a guy on a plane who worked for a consulting firm who mentioned that radiology is the latest field to be outsourced to India (also known as offshoring). He also said that wages in India are raising 50% a year, so the advantage to US companies to outsource won’t last forever. While radiologists in the US can make $350K, radiologists in India make about $25K (and, of course, they’re super bad ass, because getting into a good college in India, let alone medical school, is almost insanely competitive). This huge income disparity will even out, he said. He seemed to think this would be good for everyone involved, which I’m ambivalent about. While I fully support raising wages in other countries, I also strongly believe that service-sector jobs need to be kept in the United States, especially those which traditionally come with benefits and job security (which are, of course, the ones that MNCs are the most enthusiastic about outsourcing).

There’s a lot of excellent work out there on the Indian offshoring industry, specifically with regard to call centers and the way that Indian workers are encouraged to mimetically reproduce US customs and speech acts. See Deborah Cameron’s fantastic paper “Styling the Worker: Gender and the Commodification of Language in the Globalized Service Economy for one example.

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