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Book part
Publication date: 30 September 2020

Jen Schradie

Despite the pendulum swing from utopian to dystopian views of the Internet, the direction of the popular and academic literature continues to lean toward its liberatory…

Abstract

Despite the pendulum swing from utopian to dystopian views of the Internet, the direction of the popular and academic literature continues to lean toward its liberatory potential, particularly as a tool for redressing social inequality. At the same time, decades of digital inequality scholarship have shown persistent socioeconomic inequality in Internet access and use. Yet most of this research captures class by individualized income and education variables, rather than a power relational framework. By tracing research on how fear, control, and risk manifest itself with inequalities related to digital content, digital activism, and digital work, I argue that a narrow stratification approach may miss the full cause and effect of digital inequality. Instead, a class analysis based on power relations may contribute to a broader and more precise theoretical lens to understand the digital divide. As a result, technology can reinforce, or even exacerbate, existing patterns of social and economic inequality because of this power differential.

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Rethinking Class and Social Difference
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83982-020-5

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Article
Publication date: 20 May 2020

Anna Gladkova and Massimo Ragnedda

This paper contributes to the literature by proposing an analysis of digital inequalities in Russia that focuses on two aspects hitherto under explored: the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper contributes to the literature by proposing an analysis of digital inequalities in Russia that focuses on two aspects hitherto under explored: the interregionality (by comparing and contrasting eight federal districts) and the multidimensionality of digital inequalities (by taking into account the three levels of digital divide). Therefore, the aim is to address the phenomenon of digital divide in Russia by discussing the three levels of the digital divide (access / skills / benefits) in a comparative and interregional perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses secondary data for its analysis, including both national (e.g. the total number of daily Internet users in Russia) and more regionalized data (related to particular federal districts of Russia). The choice of data sources was determined by an attempt to provide a detailed and multifaceted coverage of all three levels of the digital divide in Russia, which is not limited to the access problem only. For this purpose, we are using and re-elaborating various reports about the development of the Internet and ICTs in Russia prepared by national and international organizations to cover the first level of the digital divide. To shed light upon the second and third levels of the digital divide, we discuss digital literacy report (2018), the report on Internet openness index of Russian regions (2017) and the report on the digital life index of the Russian regions (2016). Finally, in the attempt to map out the key directions of the state policy aimed at decreasing digital inequality in Russia, on both federal and regional levels, we analyze the most important regional and national policy measures to foster digitalization such as the digital Russia program, the digital government program and the program of eliminating digital inequality in Russia.

Findings

We consider this study to be both a first exploration and a baseline of the three level digital divides in Russia. The paper shows how the level of socioeconomic development of the federal districts, as well as a number of objective factors (distance/isolation, urbanization level, availability of infrastructure and costs for building new infrastructure, etc.) have impact upon digitalization of the regions. As a result, several federal districts of Russia (Central, Northwestern, and, in a number of cases, Ural and Volga federal districts) more often than others take leading positions in rankings, in terms of degree of Internet penetration, audience numbers, use of e-services, etc. This correlation, however, is not universal as we will show, and some regions lacking behind in terms of access can be booming in terms of digital literacy or other factors, like it happened with the Far Eastern Federal district for example. All in all, our research showed that digital inequality in Russia is still on place and will require more time for complete elimination, even though current state and public initiatives are being actively developed.

Originality/value

This paper will bring to light meaningful insights into the three levels of digital divides in Russia. Based on a multilevel (three levels of digital divide) and multi-sectional approach (the interplay of different types of inequalities), this paper contributed to overall better understanding of the digital inequalities phenomenon in Russia. It also allowed for a comparative interregional perspective, which has been missing in most papers on digital inequalities in Russia so far.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 44 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

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Article
Publication date: 13 August 2018

Marina Micheli, Christoph Lutz and Moritz Büchi

This conceptual contribution is based on the observation that digital inequalities literature has not sufficiently considered digital footprints as an important social…

Abstract

Purpose

This conceptual contribution is based on the observation that digital inequalities literature has not sufficiently considered digital footprints as an important social differentiator. The purpose of the paper is to inspire current digital inequality frameworks to include this new dimension.

Design/methodology/approach

Literature on digital inequalities is combined with research on privacy, big data and algorithms. The focus on current findings from an interdisciplinary point of view allows for a synthesis of different perspectives and conceptual development of digital footprints as a new dimension of digital inequality.

Findings

Digital footprints originate from active content creation, passive participation and platform-generated data. The literature review shows how different social groups may experience systematic advantages or disadvantages based on their digital footprints. A special emphasis should be on those at the margins, for example, users of low socioeconomic background.

Originality/value

By combining largely independent research fields, the contribution opens new avenues for studying digital inequalities, including innovative methodologies to do so.

Details

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, vol. 16 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-996X

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Book part
Publication date: 30 January 2015

Jen Schradie

How does gender equity fare in the digital public sphere(s)? To understand the mechanism of the gender gap, this study analyzes the interaction of gender with class, age…

Abstract

How does gender equity fare in the digital public sphere(s)? To understand the mechanism of the gender gap, this study analyzes the interaction of gender with class, age, and parenthood. With American national survey data, this research compares different types of online content production practices in this blurred digital public sphere(s). Findings show differences between men and women in five of six digital content creation activities. Women are more likely to consume online content; men are more likely to produce it. From more public blogging to more private chatting, inequality persists. Interactions with gender show (1) women from higher educational levels face more inequality compared to their male counterparts than do women from lower educational levels; (2) age is not a factor in the gender gap; and (3) generally, parental status fails to explain the production divide. Understanding the gender gap and its mechanisms can help ameliorate inequalities. Some argue that the Internet is a more egalitarian public platform for women while others find gender inequality. But neither body of research has attended to the blurring of the public and private spheres on the Internet.

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Communication and Information Technologies Annual
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-454-2

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Book part
Publication date: 25 May 2021

Kate Lase and Biruta Sloka

Recent development of internet applications and increase in application of various information technology have supported growing demand for new skills related to ICT and…

Abstract

Recent development of internet applications and increase in application of various information technology have supported growing demand for new skills related to ICT and internet use, computer literacy and technical digital skills. New technologies have changed many aspects of life and have led to significant differences in digital skills, computer literacy, ICT and internet use along the usual dimensions of social inequality. Purpose of the study is to analyze main challenges and problems of digital inequalities in households in Latvia by regions, territories and income and level of education. Design/Methodology/Approach: This chapter analyzes scientific publication and previous conducted research results and data of Digital Economy and Society Index, Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia (2019) data and Eurostat. Data are analyzed using indicators of descriptive statistics (indicators of central tendency or location – arithmetic mean, mode and median), indicators of variability (indicators of dispersion – range, standard deviation and standard error of mean), cross-tabulations by region, territories, income and level of education and analysis of variance are used. Findings: The results of analysis indicated that there are differences between rural and urban Internet access, socioeconomic differences between people with different income and education that affects their ability to access the Internet and digital skills. Practical implications: Latvia would benefit from motivating life-long learning, investing on digital technology and raise awareness of the importance of digitization. Originality/value: The results of this chapter can provide valuable pointers for decision-makers how to improve digital skills and digitalization process in regions of Latvia and how digital inequality can be reduced.

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Contemporary Issues in Social Science
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-931-3

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Book part
Publication date: 24 September 2018

Petr Lupač

Abstract

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Beyond the Digital Divide: Contextualizing the Information Society
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-548-7

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Book part
Publication date: 12 December 2015

Marina Micheli

In recent times the relationship between social stratification and internet use has become more complex. In order to understand the new configuration of the digital

Abstract

Purpose

In recent times the relationship between social stratification and internet use has become more complex. In order to understand the new configuration of the digital divide, this paper examines the relationship between socioeconomic background and digital engagement among youths.

Methodology/approach

This study explores digital inequalities among Italian teenagers from a holistic perspective. It draws on primary data obtained with a triangulation of methods: a survey on a representative sample of 2,025 high school students and 56 semi-structured interviews with teenagers from different social classes.

Findings

The statistical models indicate that cultural capital and parents’ occupational status do not associate with broader social media use but are positively related with online information-seeking. The interpretative analysis suggests that teenagers from the upper-middle class make sense of the internet “vertically,” in affiliation with parental socialization, and are more concerned with capital enhancing activities. Instead, teenagers from less advantageous social contexts appropriate the internet “horizontally,” jointly with peers, and are mostly interested in social-networking and UGC production.

Practical implications

School track, along with parents’ socioeconomic status and cultural capital, influences teenagers’ internet use. Further studies could explore whether school tracking contributes to digital inequalities.

Originality/value

The study extends Annette Lareau’s theory of parenting styles and social reproduction, but also obtains innovative results related to digital inequalities among youth. Contrary to expectations, teenagers from less advantageous social backgrounds enrolled in vocational schools have better chances to actively participate in social media than teens from the upper-middle class in academic-oriented high schools.

Details

Communication and Information Technologies Annual
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-381-5

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Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2018

Mingli Mei, Ru Zhao and Miaochen Zhu

This study investigated four different economic level areas of China (Shanghai, Shandong, Shaanxi, and Guizhou) to analyze the eastern and western urban and rural media…

Abstract

This study investigated four different economic level areas of China (Shanghai, Shandong, Shaanxi, and Guizhou) to analyze the eastern and western urban and rural media service status at different development stages. This set of data comes from the comparison of regional urban and rural areas and indicates the various aspects of differences in the survey area, including the media use habits, media resources, media consumer demand, evaluation of media services, the role of media in public life, public knowledge level, and so on. On analyzing data comprehensively, one thing can be found that there is a positive correlation between the public media contact degree and the public knowledge level. The media plays an extremely important role in public life and regional public knowledge gap between urban and rural areas exists. Furthermore, this gap is positively correlated to the media resources and media exposure. The trend of media using on mobile phone and computer in urban areas increases significantly greater than in rural areas. Then, how to narrow the urban–rural and regional public knowledge gap and reduce the negative impact of the digital divide will be an important urgent task.

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Article
Publication date: 2 September 2014

Ilse Mariën and Jernej A. Prodnik

This article aims to highlight the main limitations of the emancipatory potentials of digital inclusion policies and information and communication technologies (ICTs)…

Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to highlight the main limitations of the emancipatory potentials of digital inclusion policies and information and communication technologies (ICTs). Increasingly, empowerment is put forward as one of the main goals of digital inclusion. By applying user-centric and participatory approaches, assumptions are made that individuals will be empowered and, as such, will be re-included in society.

Design/methodology/approach

These assumptions, however, tend to ignore the social, economic, political and technical conditions within which individual choices are made and within which individuals must inevitably act. Instead of attempting to narrow the existing social gap between class-divided societies, and of probing the limitations given at the macro-level by questioning the wider social structure, digital inclusion policies tend to individualize problems that are in fact social in their nature.

Findings

This contribution will, therefore, aim to identify the key causes of structural (dis)empowerment and how these resonate to digital inclusion. The article positions itself within the political economy of communication research tradition and aims to confront the structural consequences of social inequalities, existing social hierarchies and power structures against mechanisms of digital inequalities and against the implementation of digital inclusion policies.

Originality/value

By proceeding from a critical perspective, it aims to demonstrate the limitations of user-centric and micro-level approaches, while questioning their normative interpretations of digital empowerment which tend to be reductionist in their essence and instrumental in their aims.

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Book part
Publication date: 29 January 2020

Massimo Ragnedda and Maria Laura Ruiu

Abstract

Details

Digital Capital
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-553-5

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