Unveiling Cultural Discourses in Hackathons: A Deconstructionist Conversation

Potential Abstract: This research article employs a deconstructionist lens to examine the cultural discourses present in hackathons, with a focus on fostering inclusive and equitable practices. Hackathons, intensive collaborative events where participants work on innovative solutions to complex problems, have gained popularity across various domains. However, these events have been criticized for perpetuating exclusionary practices that favor particular social and cultural groups. This study aims to uncover and critically analyze the underlying cultural discourses within hackathons, shedding light on how these discourses shape participants’ experiences and affect inclusivity.

Drawing on theories of cultural studies and critical discourse analysis, we utilize a qualitative research approach to explore the nuances and complexities of hackathon discourses. Data collection consists of in-depth interviews with hackathon participants, observations of hackathon events, and analysis of online platforms and discourse surrounding hackathons. Through a deconstructionist framework, we deconstruct the dominant narratives and power structures that influence hackathon culture, examining the ways in which these discourses contribute to unequal participation and outcomes.

The findings of this study contribute to the existing literature by providing a comprehensive analysis of the cultural discourses embedded in hackathon practices. Our analysis uncovers a range of discourses, including notions of meritocracy, techno-utopianism, and the privileging of certain skills and backgrounds. These discourses not only shape the design and implementation of hackathon events but also impact participants’ sense of belonging, success, and access to resources. By deconstructing these discourses, we aim to create awareness and promote critical reflection on the underlying assumptions and biases within hackathon culture.

The implications of this study have significant relevance for educators, event organizers, and policymakers involved in designing and facilitating hackathons. By understanding and challenging the cultural discourses that perpetuate exclusionary practices, we can work towards creating more inclusive and equitable spaces for participation and innovation. This research offers insights and recommendations for fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in hackathons, aiming to bridge the gap between the potential of these events and their actual impact on diverse communities.

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