The digital divide and social inclusion among refugee migrants

Khorshed Alam (School of Commerce, Faculty of Business, Education, Law & Arts, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia)
Sophia Imran (Australian Digital Futures Institute, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia)

Information Technology & People

ISSN: 0959-3845

Publication date: 1 June 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the factors which influence refugee migrants’ adoption of digital technology and its relevance to their social inclusion in Australia.

Design/methodology/approach

This research developed a conceptual framework keeping the “use” of digital technology as the centre-piece of the digital divide. The empirical data were derived from a series of focus group discussions with refugee migrants in an Australian regional city, Toowoomba in Queensland.

Findings

There is a digital divide among refugee migrant groups and it is based on inequalities in physical access to and use of digital technology, the skills necessary to use the different technologies effectively and the ability to pay for the services. The opportunities to use digital technology could support the social inclusion of refugee migrant groups in the broader Australian community.

Research limitations/implications

Further research is required to examine whether this digital divide is unique in the regional context or common to Australian society and to confirm factors that might contribute significantly to refugee migrants’ social inclusion.

Originality/value

This paper determined the role digital technology can play in building social capital and hence social inclusion among refugee migrant groups. Many of the factors identified as influencing refugee migrants’ use of digital technology can inform the Australian government and the information and communication technology industry in devising supportive policies and plans to reduce the risk of social exclusion, alienation and marginalisation among refugee migrant groups.

Keywords

Citation

Khorshed Alam and Sophia Imran (2015) "The digital divide and social inclusion among refugee migrants", Information Technology & People, Vol. 28 No. 2, pp. 344-365

Download as .RIS

DOI

: https://doi.org/10.1108/ITP-04-2014-0083

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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