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The Digital Divide
Transcript of The Digital Divide
The Digital Divide
"The concept of skills access is divided into three types of skills that often assume the following order: first a computer user has to acquire operational skills, then s(he) has to develop and apply information skills and finally strategic skills (the capacity to use computer and network rsources as means for particular goals in society). Usage access is the final stage and ultimate goal of the process of technological appropriation in the shape of particular applications" (van Dijk 224).
usage and benefits are scarce resources
status inequalities represent lifestyle differences
functionalist perspective where Internet usage and benefits are incentives
primary good: required for basic survival and self-respect
positional good: scarcity of information, power
information as a source of skills: increase income inequality
Reasons for the Divide
The difference between the "haves and have nots" has been researched to include:
availability / source of access
language / country of origin
Defining the Divide
"Over time, this policy-based understanding of the 'digital divide' as a term that referred to the disparity in physical access to infrastructure became a decursive token in both the national and international arenas" (Epstein 129).
In a Nutshell
"haves vs. have nots"
"wants vs. want nots"
knowledge of technology
access to technology
Binary in which the only choice is to be a "have," although it comes to those of higher socio-economic status.
Solution: Transfer knowledge "haves" own to the "have nots!"
Solution: Everyone receives access through government support.
"These skills to operate computer and network hard- and software are supposed to be mostly technical, boiling down to concrete questions.." (Harambam et. al 1096).
consumption vs. production
More than Money
"It may, in other words, be more a matter of cultural opinions, beliefs, and tastes than the outcome of structural limitations" including socio-economic status (Harambam et. al 1095).
Original research was binary and deterministic.
Original research fails to explain variances in Internet usage, not just who has access.
Original research ignores who
Dr. Adriana de Souza e Silva
NC State University
"Notions of a culturally informed choice towards internet usage have therefore been discarded under the guise of techno-enthusiasm on the one hand, and anxieties about a class-based ‘digital divide’ on the other" (Harambam et. al 1108).
"Some differences may decrease over time (such as basic access), some differences may expand (social capital), and some may be replaced (from dial-up to broadband) (van Dijk, 2005, Chapter 6)" (Pierce and Rice 722).
Epstein, Dmitry. "The Anolog History of the 'Digital Divide.' The Long History of New Media. 127-144.
Harambam, Jaron et. al. "The Contentious Gap." Information, Communication & Society. 1093-1114.
Pierce, Katy and Ronald Rice. "Digital Divides from Access to Activities." Journal of Communication. 721-744.
Sassi, Sinikka. "Cultural differentiation or social segregation?" New Media Society. 684-700.
Shradie, Jen. "The digital production gap: The digital divide and Web 2.0 collide." Poetics. 145-
van Dijk, Jan A.G.M. "Digital divide research, achievements and shortcomings." Poetics. 221-235.
Types of Connectivity
Data plan on phone
USB stick with built-in cellular connection
Wi-Fi (tablet, phone)
technocratic: differences in Internet use internationally regardless of country's wealth in spite of a societal need fthat everyone have access
social: adapts for social patterns of use, although there is not uniform equality across demographic groups globally ("for rich white people")
exclusion approach: technological diffusion not the problem, lower class excluded, intensity depending on global location
capitalism approach: modernization and capitalism connected, education
Ted Talk with Aleph Molinari: https://www.ted.com/talks/aleph_molinari_let_s_bridge_the_digital_divide