Gendered Innovation Adoption: Non-Adoption of Bird Photography, 1899-1920

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    Prior studies on innovation adoption have underscored that the refusal to adopt popular innovations becomes less accepted as such innovations spread. In this paper, I re-examine this prevailing account using the lens of gender. Focusing on the adoption of bird photography, a technologically advanced method to help save wild birds that became widespread in early twentieth-century America, I examine how gendered expectations in society shaped the adoption of an innovation. Using a unique database coded from archival documents of the first American bird protection movement, which was prominent between 1899 and 1920, I find that the non-adoption of a technological innovation is rather accepted when the meaning of the innovation is gendered and its (non)adoption is accountably masculine (or feminine). Stemming from that historical case, the results of this study have contemporary relevance to understanding the role of gendered expectations in shaping innovation adoption, particularly in science and technology.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)867–892
    JournalSocial Forces
    Issue number2
    Early online date4 Aug 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


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