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Beyond Digital Divide: Toward an Agenda for Change

Beyond Digital Divide: Toward an Agenda for Change
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Author(s): Neil Selwyn (University of London, UK) and Keri Facer (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 20
Source title: Handbook of Research on Overcoming Digital Divides: Constructing an Equitable and Competitive Information Society
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Enrico Ferro (Istituto Superiore Mario Boella (ISMB), Italy), Yogesh K. Dwivedi (Swansea University, UK), J. Ramon Gil-Garcia (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), Mexico) and Michael D. Williams (Swansea University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-699-0.ch001

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Abstract

This chapter discusses how digital exclusion continues to present a serious and significant threat to the successful establishment of developed and developing countries as ‘information societies.’ Based on a review of recent research and theoretical work, the chapter considers a number of different reasons why digital exclusion remains a complex and entrenched social problem, highlighting the need to recognize the mediating role of economic, cultural, and social forms of capital in shaping individuals’ engagements with ICT. From this basis, the chapter proposes a hierarchical framework of digital exclusion based around conceptual ‘stages’ of ICT use. Using this framework, the argument is made that policymakers, technologists, and other information society stakeholders face a considerable challenge to match the social affordances of ICTs with the everyday needs, interests, and desires of individuals. In this sense, digital exclusion continues to demand a complex set of policy responses which go far beyond simply increasing levels of hardware provision and support, and then assuming any ‘gaps’ to have been ‘bridged.’ The chapter concludes by highlighting a number of possible directions for future action.

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