Here are a few key takeaways from my presentation at the ICA Media Sociology Conference

Here are a few key takeaways from my presentation at the ICA Media Sociology Conference, held at Metropolitan University in Toronto on May 31, 2023:

The presentation focused on Digital Poverty in England, examining new vulnerabilities related to this issue. The research was based on an online survey of 2000 parents aged 20-55 with school-going children, utilizing the Determinants of Digital Poverty and Inequality Framework developed by the Digital Poverty Alliance.

Intersectionality and the Digital Divide: DP was explored not only as an issue of economic poverty but also as intersecting with various forms of inequality, including socio-economic, educational, racial, linguistic, gender, and health inequalities. The concept of DP was situated within the three levels of the digital divide: access, skills, and benefits.

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic: The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated existing inequalities and emphasized the significance of digital access and skills, particularly in the context of remote education. The research aimed to identify new potential groups at risk of experiencing DP as a result of the pandemic.

Individual Agency and Structural Conditions: The presentation highlighted the role of individual agency in engaging with digital technologies and acknowledged the interplay between structural conditions and individual actions. The research question examined how the interaction between individual determinants (capability and motivation) and circumstantial determinants (conditions of action) influenced DP among English families in the post-pandemic era.

Geographical Variations: The study conducted factor analyses, multiple regression analysis, and post-tests to explore the relationship between individual and circumstantial determinants of DP. While living conditions did not significantly differentiate between individual determinants, differences emerged between families in London and those in other geographical areas of England.

Contributions and Policy Implications: The main contribution of the presentation was to deepen understanding of DP in the context of England and emphasize its multidimensional nature. By considering both structural constraints and individual agency, the study provided insights into the factors influencing DP and identified potentially vulnerable groups. These findings can inform policies and interventions aimed at addressing digital inequalities and reducing DP among English families.

Overall, the presentation shed light on the complex nature of DP, its intersectionality with other forms of inequality, and the significance of individual agency and structural conditions in understanding and addressing this issue.


Takeaway from my presentation at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

On the 15th of May 2023, I had the privilege of participating in an outstanding workshop at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, alongside colleagues from Brazil and Spain, to discuss the crucial topic of Digital Sustainability. I am honored to be a member of the research group, “Red Transamazónica de Cooperación en Información y Conocimiento para el Desarrollo Sostenible.”

During my talk, I emphasized the pressing need to update our theoretical and policy frameworks in order to address poverty and promote digital sustainability. Digital sustainability refers to the utilization of digital technologies to foster environmental, social, and economic sustainability, thereby contributing to a sustainable future for all.

One key aspect that requires further exploration is the individual contributions to the digital economy and their environmental impact through the use of digital technologies. It is essential to investigate these aspects in relation to the concepts of both digital poverty and environmental poverty. By reframing the concept of digital poverty, we can better align it with the new dynamics and forces that shape it.

I underscored the importance for scholars and researchers to actively support policy-making efforts that enhance the digital well-being of citizens. This involves improving their digital lives and health, reducing pressure on healthcare and environmental systems, while simultaneously bolstering the economy, fostering business growth, and prioritizing environmental protection.

With Maria Laura Ruiu (Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the Northumbria University) I am currently in the process of finalizing a book titled “Digital Environment Poverty,” which will be published by Palgrave, and it delves further into these vital aspects.

Visiting Professor at the Paris Lodron Universität Salzburg

It was a big honour and pleasure to be invited to the Paris Lodron Universität Salzburg to teach at the Master in Digital Communication Leadership. This Master is an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree (EMJMD) which approaches the vast and recent field of digital communication from an interdisciplinary and international point of view, bringing together advanced academic discussion with practical knowledge and skills.

It is developed in three innovative tracks, organised by four European universities in Austria, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands. The students have the opportunity to study in two different universities (depending on the chosen track) and spend a research stay at one of the Academic Partners, or an internship at one of the Internship Partners.

It was a very intense but satisfying 2 full on days of teaching, interacting, knowledge-sharing with exceptional students from all over the world.

Opening Talk at the III Encuentro de la Cátedra de Brecha Digital Generacional, University of Alicante

It was a big honour to be invited to open a two-day workshop (21st and 22nd of September 2022) with academics and policymakers at the University of Alicante. The event was organized by la Cátedra de Brecha Digital Generacional (fruits of the collaboration between the University and the Generalitat Valenciana).

In my talk, titled “The self-reinforcing effect of digital and social exclusion”, I first emphasised the idea of the self-reinforcing effect of digital and social exclusion, by highlighting how, despite their access to the Internet, those people at risk of social exclusion are more likely to lack the digital experience necessary to fully exploit the possibilities the Internet can offer.

Based on data from recent research I underlined how those who tend to obtain more benefits from the use of the Internet are, on average, young, well-educated and with a higher income, thus reinforcing their already privileged social positions. Here you can read more about our research

I have also further emphasized how socially vulnerable people have more difficulties in using digital technologies and gaining benefits from them, leading to further marginalisation of their position and deepening of inequalities.

Finally, I underlined how offline social structures and practices influence individuals’ ability to use digital technologies as an empowering tool of social inclusion.

How offline backgrounds interact with digital capital

Ragnedda, M., Ruiu, ML., Addeo, F., (2022), How offline backgrounds interact with digital capital, New Media and Society.

Abstract: This article investigates the interaction between digital capital and some offline components (economic, cultural, political, social and personal) that represent the background against which we access and use the Internet. Based on a stratified sample of the UK population (868), six indexes (one for each component) were generated through factor analysis and univariate analysis. We summarised them into a unique model by performing a multiple linear regression to evaluate the role-played by offline components in the development/reinforcement of digital capital. The interaction between these new indexes and the digital capital index shows that, with the exception of the political component, all offline backgrounds positively contribute to digital capital. Moreover, the multiple regression analysis shows that the economic and social components have the strongest influence on digital capital.


The role-played by socio-cultural and economic backgrounds in influencing digital inequalities has attracted the attention of scholars since the very beginning of Internet studies (DiMaggio et al., 2001). Researchers have increasingly explored the relationship between digital and social inequalities by showing some interdependencies between the pre-existing backgrounds of individuals and their related degree of digital skills and experience in using the Internet (Blank and Groselj, 2015Van Deursen et al., 2015). The main contribution of this article is to conceptualise and measure how various components of individuals’ everyday lives (economic, social, cultural, personal and political components: referred to as the 5Cs from now on) contribute to the creation of digital capital. Our research builds on previous studies that have shown how individual backgrounds and the context in which people grow up influence how individuals approach (Gui and Argentin, 2011), use (Van Deursen and Van Dijk, 2014) and engage (Robinson, 2009) with digital technologies. More specifically, our research aims to analyse to what extent individual backgrounds influence the increase of digital capital, by following the path of other studies that underlined a connection between the cultural, social and economic backgrounds of users, and their Internet access and use (Helsper, 2012Van Deursen et al., 2014Van Deursen and Van Dijk, 2015). Adding to these studies, this work contributes to the investigation of the interaction between social (Bourdieu, 1985Coleman, 1990Putnam, 1995), political (Syed and Whiteley, 1997), economic (Bourdieu, 1985), personal (Becker, 1996) cultural (Bourdieu, 1985) and digital capital.

Continue reading “How offline backgrounds interact with digital capital”

Nominated by students for a teaching award 2022

I am so glad to have been nominated for the Student Led Teaching Awards 2022. This is the 10th year in this project, which shows students appreciate all that staff do for them. Each year students complete an online form and they are asked two questions (as below).

Why do you want to nominate this person?

A man with the ability to provide an entire room of students the ability to see the world as he sees it, allowing us to view the intricacies that exist within society from a lens that has been cultivated for a lifetime, yet bestowed to us in the form of lectures; in other words, this man is the best teacher that I’ve ever personally had. university can be long and tiring, but he has provided for myself, and many others a second wind, propelling us to learn in a manner that is both interesting, and more importantly fun. He has given me the opportunity to better myself, and the others around me by showing that although life may be complicated, and the future even more complicated, there is always solutions.

Tell us something specific they’ve done that has made a difference to you.

Having done a foundation year, one of the main reasons I chose to do the course I’m currently on is because of him, I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for his invigorating personality, and his ability to teach.

Special Issue “Digital Inequalities in the Middle East & North Africa”

Special Issue of Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies

Guest Editors: Dr. Glenn W. Muschert, Professor of Sociology, Khalifa University, UAE, and Dr. Massimo Ragnedda, Associate Professor of Mass Communications, Northumbria University, UK

Deadline for abstracts: 19. June 2022 / Expected date of publication: August 2023

Little research has focused on digital inequalities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Despite the noted migration of social life into the digital sphere, the cultures and societies of the MENA region remain under-studied. This special issue intends to shed much-needed light on this topic: namely, how digital media forms, digital inequalities, and ICT use are changing social life in the MENA region. The special editors invite proposals for articles about digital inequalities in MENA.

As a whole, the special collection welcomes analysis of digital divides and changing social relations. There are few empirical studies on this topic from the MENA region, and the issue will be the first to examine the changes brought by new technologies in the lives of those living in the region. The special editors welcome contributions that clarify hopes and impediments to digital society in MENA. Articles should advance scholarly knowledge concerning the effect of digital technologies on the region’s broader social contexts. Welcome topics include digital effects on economic dynamics, technical issues, cultural aspects, historical legacies, embedded conflicts, digital literacy and skills, governance of digital life, social well-being, and development trajectories.

The special issue will focus on social issues or perspectives on digital inequalities in the MENA region. Each article should examine a specific social issue or perspective related to the digital divides in the MENA region and related social issues. The primary criterion for acceptance will be the scholarly promise and relevance of the topic.  Each contribution must include empirical analysis and be linked theoretically to broader debates current in sociology or related social science fields. Contributors are encouraged to offer forward-looking perspectives in suggestions for social challenges, including how the study of MENA social issues or regional perspectives can help inform research on digital inequalities worldwide.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Can the MENA region’s economic and social development leapfrog by adopting mobile technologies?
  • What possibilities exist to drive digital inclusion in MENA while reducing aspects of digital inequalities?
  • What are the implications of social media and other forms of digital participation for social life in MENA?
  • How demographic, cultural, and socio-economic factors influence digital divides in MENA, including:
    • Access to ICTs (first level of digital divide)
    • Effective use of ICTs (second level of digital divide), and
    • The benefits of ICT use (third level of digital divide)?
  • Assess the role of digital media in transforming health care practices and outcomes in the MENA region.
  • Identify the innovative digital methods used in the region to provide access, information, and utility.
  • Exploring how COVID-19 may have exacerbated digital inequalities in the MENA region
  • Are digital use patterns related to social well-being in the MENA region?
  • Explore how users, organizations, and societies are affected by regulatory frameworks.

Submit 500-word abstract & 100-word bio by 19. June 2022 to:

glenn.muschert.(at) & massimo.ragnedda(at)

Authors of accepted abstracts will be notified by 30. June 2022 to submit full articles by 15. September 2022

Converting Digital Capital in Five Key LifeRealms

Ragnedda, M., Ruiu, M. L., Addeo, F., Delli Paoli, A. (2022). Converting Digital Capital in Five
Key Life Realms.
Italian Sociological Review, 12 (1), 19-40.

This article theorizes fresh connections between Bourdieusian social theory, and the digital divide in five key areas: political, economic, cultural, social, and personal digital advantage. In so doing it makes new arguments about how digital resources result in benefits that accrue from the combination of both access to and use of ICTs. In this way, the findings shed additional light on the third level of the digital divide by focusing on the role played by digital capital in influencing the uneven distribution of benefits that derive from the use of the Internet. Based on a structured sample of the UK population, the article adopts the model of digital capital developed by Ragnedda, Ruiu and Addeo (2019). Findings show that varied levels of digital capital are related to engagement in activities that have political, social, economic, cultural, and personal valence. Thus, the study offers compelling evidence of the increasing importance of digital capital in everyday life.

Continue reading “Converting Digital Capital in Five Key LifeRealms”

Conceptualizing the techno-environmental habitus

Maria Laura Ruiu, Gabriele Ruiu and Massimo Ragnedda (2021) Conceptualizes the techno-environmental habitus, First Monday, 26(11).

This paper conceptualizes the techno-environmental habitus to explore differentiation among media users and their climate change awareness by adopting a dynamic concept that takes into consideration both pre-existing conditions and interactions with the technological field of action. The paper investigates the characteristics of multi-layered dispositions towards climate change in the U.K. through an online survey of a representative sample of the U.K. population (N=1,013). Results show that, despite the predominance of advocacy positions, four different techno-environmental habitus point to a fragmented landscape, but also a “chameleon”, transformative capacity of habitus, given that some common traits are shared by the groups. Beyond the four different patterns related to techno-environmental attitudes, one of the most interesting findings relates to the fatalistic techno-environmental habitus, which presents some traits in common with the scepticism and advocacy approaches but tends to be discouraged with regard to taking action. The identification of the nuances of techno-environmental habitus is relevant for climate change policy implementation because they may facilitate or hinder both individual and collective action.

This paper adopts the concept of habitus to interpret differentiation among technology users and their perception of climate change. The public disposition towards climate change is a relevant aspect of climate policy and is largely influenced by the use of news media (Schäfer and Painter, 2020). The originality of this work lies in exploring the interaction between techno-use and environmental dispositions, revealing different techno-environmental habitus, which may either facilitate or hinder both individual and collective sustainable actions.

Continue reading “Conceptualizing the techno-environmental habitus”

Use of science in British newspapers’ narratives of climate change

Ruiu, M. L., & Ragnedda, M. (2021). Use of science in British newspapers’ narratives of climate changeStudies in Communication Sciences, 1–20. (Open Access)

Abstract. This paper investigates the use of science in British newspapers’ narratives of climate change between 1988 and 2016. It is based on the analysis of eight newspapers and their Sunday and online versions (Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, The Daily Express, The Sun, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent). We used the keywords “climate / climatic change”, “warm / warming” and “greenhouse / greenhouse effect” to retrieve the articles from the Nexis / Lexis database. To identify the articles with a specific focus on climate change, we included only those containing the keywords in the headline (9789 items). Framing theory helps interpret the process of construction of the “threat” through science by showing a tendency towards scientific consensus for the centre / left-leaning newspapers, and an instrumental use of consensus for the centre-right. These findings are useful for both scientists and policymakers interested in understanding how climate narratives can promote delay in action on climate change.

The article has two main research questions. The first question relates to the evolution of CC scientific frames in British newspaper re­porting over time:

RQ 1: How have scientific frames of CC evolved in British newspaper reporting?

The sec­ond question investigates the themes associated with the use of scientific frames:

RQ 2: What are the prominent stories associated with the use of scientific frames over time?

The analysis of the topics associated with the use of scientific frames is relevant to understand what topics and aspects of ev­ery day are associated with the scientific construction of CC.

Here the full article