Princeton University Library Catalog

SILICON VALLEY’S “GOLDEN CHILDREN”: MOTIVATIONS AND EXPERIENCES OF TECH INTERNS

Author/​Artist:
Martin, Karenna [Browse]
Format:
Senior thesis
Language:
English
Advisor(s):
Vertesi, Janet A. [Browse]
Department:
Princeton University. Department of Sociology [Browse]
Class year:
2015
Description:
111 pages
Summary note:
Over the past forty years, Silicon Valley has emerged as the world’s center for technological development (Luo and Mann 2011). Increasingly, tech companies in Silicon Valley are offering well-paid summer internships to college students. This study examines the rituals that occur during these internships, the meanings that these interns find in these internships, and how interns talk about the broader Silicon Valley culture. Through in-depth interviews with twenty Silicon Valley interns, this study finds that interns practice “role distance” (Goffman 1961) to position themselves as simultaneously aware of Silicon Valley’s problems and separate from them. Role distance allows these interns to negotiate identity and justify their position in a culture that they acknowledge as having serious issues, such as sexism and gentrification. These findings have implications for the study of “new elites” (Khan 2011) and how they reproduce their positions over time.