ERIC Number: ED345552
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Jan
Gender and Participation in Computer-Mediated Linguistic Discourse.
Herring, Susan C.
A study examined the claim that computer-mediated discussion groups, also known as "lists,""conferences," or "bulletin boards" in which individuals contribute electronically to an ongoing exchange of information and ideas within a field of common interest, affect participation by women. Examination of the claim was accomplished by analyzing patterns of participation in the LINGUIST list, a computer-mediated linguistics discussion group containing over 1,800 subscribers internationally. While 46% of the regular members of the 1991 Linguistic Society of America were women, women comprise only 36% of LINGUIST subscribers. During a 2.5 month period, 71 messages, by 42 contributors, initially centered on the term "cognitive linguistics" were analyzed. The number of women contributors, number of contributions by gender, average words per contribution, and total words contributed were examined. An anonymous survey was conducted on the list concerning reasons for female nonparticipation in the discussion. Results of the discourse analysis and survey suggest that while both men and women respond negatively to adversarial discourse such as this one, women respond differently on the basis of their negative reactions, producing less adversarial discourse and participating less in adversarial exchanges altogether. It is concluded that gender-based communication preferences may inhibit women from participating in even professionally beneficial activities. Adoption of the rhetoric of male success is seen as a more participatory alternative. The survey form is appended. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America (Philadelphia, PA, January 9-12, 1992). "Filled" type may copy poorly.