Cultural Appropriations of Technical Capital

Brock, André; Kvasny, Lynette; Hales, Kayla
Information, Communication & Society

The aim of this paper is to use cultural and technical capital as a sensitizing framework for exploring novel ways of thinking about information and communication technology and social inequalities. This paper takes a particular focus on three weblogs in which women of different ages, social classes, and races constructed discourses on Black womanhood. The participants employed their personal experiences, structural analyses of racism and sexism, media criticism, and aesthetic arguments about Black women's worth, beauty, and value to articulate their vision of Black womanhood. In earlier times, these conversations would have taken place in beauty salons, or other gendered spaces where these conversations could proceed unknown to broader society. In today's information society, these conversations have spilled over to the Internet. It is our contention that this phenomenon – the articulation of cultural capital mediated through technical prowess – is a strong argument against the deficit models of minority information and communication technology use promoted by digital divide research.