Including women in the global South as users, producers, consumers, designers, and developers of technology has become a mantra against inequality, prompting movements to train individuals in information and communication technologies and foster the participation and retention of women in science and technology fields. In this book, Firuzeh Shokooh Valle argues that these efforts have given rise to an idealized, female economic figure that combines technological dexterity and keen entrepreneurial instinct with gendered stereotypes of care and selflessness. Narratives about the "equalizing" potential of digital technologies spotlight these women's capacity to overcome inequality using said technologies, ignoring the barriers and circumstances that create such inequality in the first place as well as the potentially violent role of technology in their lives. In Defense of Solidarity and Pleasure examines how women in the Global South experience and resist the coopting and depoliticizing nature of these scripts. Drawing on fieldwork in Costa Rica and a transnational feminist digital organization, Shokooh Valle explores the ways that feminist activists, using digital technologies as well as a collective politics that prioritize solidarity and pleasure, advance a new feminist technopolitics.
About the author
Firuzeh Shokooh Valle is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Franklin and Marshall College. Previously, she was a journalist in Puerto Rico covering violence against women, the LGBTQI+ community, migration, racism, and social movements, and earned numerous national awards for her investigative work.
"Given the pandemic, rising inequality and the amplification of care work – all of which have had disproportionate negative impact on women, In Defense of Solidarity and Pleasure serves as a nuanced mapping of the spectrum of discursive practices that have shaped the way aid agencies view women as instruments of economic expansion and problematizes empowerment as neoliberal tools."
—Payal Arora, Erasmus University
"Shokooh Valle provides a deeply grounded critique of the tech inclusion narrative, unpacks the neoliberal 'Third World Technological Woman,' and reorganizes our understanding of the politics of care. She simultaneously surfaces the many ways that transnational feminist networks re-appropriate digital technologies for pleasure, play, and decolonial power. Required reading for anyone interested in feminist technopolitics."
—Sasha Costanza-Chock, Harvard University