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From Inclusive Spaces to Inclusionary Texts: How E-Participation Can Help Overcome Social Exclusion

From Inclusive Spaces to Inclusionary Texts: How E-Participation Can Help Overcome Social Exclusion
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Author(s): Simon Smith (University of Leeds, UK)
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 16
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.ch029

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Abstract

This account explores the use of ICT to overcome social exclusion by means of eParticipation initiatives in two spheres-health promotion and local democratic participation. They offer a contrast in terms of how we think about inclusion because the intended outcomes of their e-enablement may differ. Their construction as private or public goods affects the scope for intermediaries to act as agents of digital inclusion. In eHealth, digital inclusion is often a recruitment issue, since online discussion serves as a meeting-place where people provide mutual support to others who are co-present, whereas in local eDemocracy, inclusion is a representation issue, since online discussion is a narrative, reflecting on the political life of a territorial community. As a textual Internet is more amenable to intermediation than a spatial Internet, the possibilities for deploying ICT for social inclusion were enhanced when members of the eHealth virtual community began to ‘publicise’ the discursive goods they produced, which became translatable into community health benefits via intermediation and channel integration.

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