Masculinity and gear fetishism in audio technology community discourse

Annetts, Alex (2015) Masculinity and gear fetishism in audio technology community discourse. Doctoral thesis, Anglia Ruskin University.

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This thesis is a study of audio technology community discourse and its historical features. I contend that the audio technology domain is fundamentally exclusive and hierarchically stratified, based on discursively inscribed prerequisites to participation and enunciation, notably a hegemonic masculine performance, gear fetishism and the articulation of technical knowledge. I show that communities organised around audio technology, socially construct and perpetuate these features as components of their respective discourses. I expose all three elements to be rooted in culturally embedded gender stereotypes, dating back to a nineteenth century dichotomy of public and private space. I present a deconstruction of the complex discursive performances of masculinity and offer opportunities for privileged masculine recordists to critically reflect upon their dominance and homogeneity within the domain as an original contribution to knowledge. In this endeavour, I investigate the emergence and development of exclusive tropes as components of audio technology culture, and demonstrate how they continue to be perpetuated in the face of both social and technological developments that offer possibilities to destratify the community hierarchy and enunciative function. My methodology is based on a comparative discourse analysis of industry and academic texts, as well as the communities that surround and influence the construction of modern audio technology discourse. Case studies are conducted of two leading industry publications: Tape Op and Sound On Sound, and supplemented by an exploration of Women's Audio Mission. I combine these sources with interview material gathered from relevant industry professionals. In doing so, I observe how the audio technology community has maintained barriers to participation, often in the face of technological progress that offers supposed opportunities for democratisation. My work presents an argument against this notion, exposing the supposed democratisation as an illusion of accessibility and thus as mere massification.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: audio technology, discourse, masculinity, gear fetishism, gender
Faculty: Theses from Anglia Ruskin University
Depositing User: Ian Walker
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2017 08:00
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 19:01

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