Studying Gender While ‘Studying Up’: On Ethnography and Epistemological Hegemony

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This article discusses the epistemological challenges of contending with hegemonic norms while ‘studying up.’ In particular, I discuss the challenges that I faced in following feminist and queer approaches to gender while conducting fieldwork on the gendered norms and values produced through undergraduate computer science education in Singapore. These approaches suggest critical questions about the construction of computer science knowledge and of the common focus on the ‘woman problem’ in computer science. While feminist and queer approaches enabled me to find partial connections with participants, the heteronormativity in/of computer science and problem-solving-based hegemonic epistemology brought challenges in maintaining my methodological and theoretical approach. I highlight the need to greater examine the power dynamics and how these shape the epistemological risks of fieldwork while studying up.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnthropology in Action
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)1-10
Publication statusPublished - 2022

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Social Sciences - computer science, ethnographic fieldwork, feminist and queer anthropology, heteronormativity, higher education, problem-based epistemology

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