The discussions we've had have spurred me to reflect on what values drive my own research and shape my outlook on the world. I was surprised at how easily I was able to articulate my own values, and even more surprised at their implications. Even in my high-school activism days, I was committed to exploring, exposing, and publicizing alternatives to fallacious dominant paradigms, particularly ones that involve gender/ethnic inequity, in a way that makes us recognize the fallacies. This thread has been present, to varying degrees, through all of my research, and the more strongly it is there, the more passionate I feel about the issue. It's also surprisingly Marxist (where I mean that in the academic sense of focusing on interactions between the material/economic/political world, or the "base," and the social/ideological world, or the "superstructure") and not so surprisingly feminist (in both the academic sense of attending to power dynamics and silencing, and the popular sense of attending to gender inequalities). In blog posts, you have probably noticed that this often comes out in nature vs. nurture debates, discussions of the societal influence of behaviors we often take for granted, and attempts to summarize social science results that may be well-known in the academic world but haven't spread to the general public. Anyway, all of us come to our research with various agendas, and I think it's vitally important to recognize these agendas in order to understand their implications for our research.
On an unrelated note, my paper on hacker culture, Constructionism, and the One Laptop Per Child project has been accepted for my Major Project requirement! It'll need some revision before submitting it for publication, but I'm so happy about how far it has come, and so grateful to Fred for his help.