Research on the IS related technophobia of the currently excluded, today’s ‘digital exiles” or “technological outcasts” (Kamberidou & Patsantaras 2004) is extremely limited, especially in Greece. Studies have focused on economic research, consumer related issues, market analyses, the creation of user friendly technologies and designs, etc. and very little on today’s progressively emerging excluded social groups, namely on what is really going on here and now. In other words, the digital divide, the technological gap based on the gender or the social specific educational choices, stereotypes, perceptions and attitudes on ICT and other scientific fields. A Major Social Problem is apparent here. It is no longer only an issue of technophobia, but one of Absolute Exclusion. Today there are winners and losers. The consequence is a major social problem, since exclusions create social repercussions for the European Union, that could eventually lead to the collapse of an entire social system. If the technological system does not adopt, as one of its basic operations and functions -in the framework of its logic and reasoning- the active participation of the social subject, (the EU citizen) in the educational processes in order to prepare the subject for integration into Information Society, it places its own viability in danger. as the more technology develops, the more social exclusions are increased in the EU. A new form of power, namely a virtual world order, a virtual globalization (a new elite) is being created. If the technological system does not actively participate in the educational processes of the gender subject in order to prepare him/her for integration into Information Society, it will eventually endanger its own viability. In other words, at some point it will have no reason to exist and will eventually collapse due to the gradual reduction of the socio-productive consumer— a major social problem since exclusions create social repercussions for the European Union. A large part of the population, women in particular who comprise half the population of the world, will continue to be rejected or marginalized, if the appropriate educational reforms are neglected, and access in this sphere of economic activity not secured. The result will be a terrible social regression, and the creation, in the framework of Information Society, of a space that could be defined as “Virtual Despotism”, since an overwhelmingly excluded part of the population will be the ‘servants’, of the emerging information elite, as we observed in our first workshop. If we want to provide a character of emancipation to the diverse forms of progress and developments related to the production processes today, then the exclusion of the gender subject, the inequalities in the framework of European democracies must be eradicated, as exclusions from knowledge in Information Society are inconsistent with European values. Undoubtedly, a plethora of international research has been conducted on gender exclusions due to socialization, gender stereotyping, the “male” perception or masculine image associated with the Sciences, the lack of practice and access to computer training for girls, anachronistic teaching methods and methodologies practiced in computer education and the computer sciences, the different preference degrees of men and women, boys and girls to use computers and new technologies, etc. However, the majority of studies have focused on gender ‘differences’ as a means to evaluate the under-representation of women in the Sciences and in the field of computer science in particular. What is missing in these studies is the position of women, specifically how these women evaluate and assess themselves, their abilities, their experiences, their achievements, their environment, their social and professional dimensions and restrictions. A study is presently in process, concerning the Social and Professional Dimensions of the Limited or Restricted use of Computers by Female University Graduates in Greece, in order to examine the reason women structure or construct for themselves in relation to computers. Proposals: (1) The provision of a more equitable and non-discriminatory distribution of a technological infrastructure (pilot study results in Greece). Equal distribution of these resources in the public school system. (2) Technological Education or further technological training of specific social groups or non-mainstream groups, and primarily women of the lower socioeconomic classes, with the participation of the technology Industry, must be a major priority. If the technological system does not adopt as one of its basic operations and functions- in the framework of its ‘particular development logic’- ACTIVE PARTICIPATION IN THE EDUCATION PROCESSES, in order to prepare the social subject for integration or incorporation in Information Society, it endangers its own viability. (3) It is absolutely necessary to get more women who are working in this field and who are still underrepresented within this field involved—as active agents-- in the processes of technological design and composition. If we concentrate on the Exclusion of those social groups or women, who already have the know-how or who already have some form of access into IS, we need to empower them so they may be incorporated into the higher hierarchies and decisioin-making positions. (4) Need for more and better interdisciplinary research – Social sciences/ technological and gender research. (5) Develop a “socio-technoethos” or “socio-technoethics” (i.e. an ‘ethical code’ for participation in the Information Society) to systematically evaluate the ethical problems involved. A natural reaction to exclusion from the social production process that is increasingly taking place within the context of the Information Society is technology aversion or “technophobia”. It results from a failure of integration. and is a serious social problem, and if not dully taken into account, could eventually lead to the decomposition of Information Society. The proposed “technoethos” or “technoethics’ could serve as a tool for eliminating a further propagation of this aversion or technophobia. It should aim to influence mainstream IST development and formulation from a gender perspective as well as support technological education and adequate training measures, targeting both genders. Through such policies, measures and steps—in the medium and long term—social stereotypes of exclusion, demarcation and dichotomy, reproduced primarily in direct relation to socioeconomic levels or class, will eventually be wiped out.
Recommendations- What can be done? Re-socialization?
1. A widespread campaign to change attitudes. The obligation of the EU to promote information, to inform, introduce, expose and familiarize the EU citizen of the necessity of technologies and technological tools in the framework of IS, along with the promotion of socioeconomic studies on the currently excluded from IS.
2. The creation of a “friendly” and accessible environment towards women as far as technology, social space and hours are concerned. Namely, available free public terminals-computer units/areas/social spaces, with a friendly-attractive social environment in every town, city, municipality, prefecture of the EU, adequately staffed, and financed by municipalities, communities and the EU.
2.1 Continuous promotion campaign, advertising by the towns, municipalities, prefectures, to their citizens, concerning the necessity for basic elementary computer learning (not training, but elementary technological learning).
2.1.1 To begin with a pilot study or program in one of the EU states or Greek prefectures.
Although some studies have shown that technical access to the internet does not signify inclusion in the IS, many studies confirm that awareness, familiarity and a change in attitudes have been achieved through regular use, rather than formal training.,,, see attachements
105. Kamberidou, Irene & Patsantaras, Nikolaos (2004). "Absolute Exclusion: Today’s Digital Exiles”. Analysis Report, presentation as member of GEAG for the Gender eQuality Session, second Consultation Workshop on Gender and Technology, European Commission, Information Society Directorate-General Miniaturisation, Embedded Systems, Societal Applications, Oct. 15, 2004 Brussels. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.3874.4407 . Includes Technoethics proposals and final Report on the Gender Workshop of October 15, 2004, list of participants, membership in Expert working group, inclusion/invitation to next meeting Jan. 2005 and letter of appreciation.