Elizabeth Sanders Lopez

The geography of computer writing spaces: A critical postmodern analysis

Elizabeth Sanders Lopez

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 1995; pp: 368
  • Advisor: Porter, James E.
  • Source: DAI-A 57/03, p. 1116, Sep 1996
  • Subjects: Language, General (0679); Education, Technology (0710); Education, Higher (0745)
  • ProQuest Document Number:
  • ISBN:
  • UMI Number: AAT 9622732

Abstract:

    • While research about computers and writing has alluded to power relationships in networked classrooms, the vital connection between power and space has been largely ignored. As a means to look at the dynamic relations of power in networked spaces, this qualitative case study examines the construction and enactment of subjectivity, agency, and resistance by teachers and students in physical computer classroom settings and in networked environments. This case study draws its theoretical bases from postmodern theory and postmodern geography. Forms of subjectivity, agency, and resistance varied in the different spaces studied.
    • While research about computers and writing has alluded to power relationships in networked classrooms, the vital connection between power and space has been largely ignored. As a means to look at the dynamic relations of power in networked spaces, this qualitative case study examines the construction and enactment of subjectivity, agency, and resistance by teachers and students in physical computer classroom settings and in networked environments. This case study draws its theoretical bases from postmodern theory and postmodern geography. Forms of subjectivity, agency, and resistance varied in the different spaces studied.
    • The network environments supported more varied subject positions. Some aspects of the networks’ designs, like the file structure and access to a central lab server on campus, positioned teachers and students in roles that emphasized teachers’ control over class space and students’ lack of personal control over that space. Other aspects, such as the open access to the Internet and the personal nature of exchanges over electronic mail, reinforced more empowering subject positions for teachers as individuals with a personal identity and co-inquirers with students or for students as collaborators and critiquers of others’ work. Resistance in the networked spaces was evident as teachers and students were able to assert their own personal identity and follow their own research or writing agendas, yet their agencies were influenced by the design of the electronic networks.
    • This study suggests that technological spaces profoundly influence the dynamics of classes and that different physical and virtual designs have different impacts. Computer writing spaces cannot be theorized as a single phenomenon. This study also suggests that empirical methods and methodologies need to be investigated to allow researchers to more adequately capture the dynamic nature of computer writing spaces.