Theorizing Digital Divides

theorizing digital dividesMassimo Ragnedda and Glenn W. Muschert, Theorizing Digital Divides, Routledge, 2017

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 This volume examines and explains the phenomenon of digital divides and digital inequalities from a theoretical perspective. Indeed, with there being a limited amount of theoretical research on the digital divide so far, Theorizing Digital Divides seeks to collect and analyse different perspectives and theoretical approaches in analysing digital inequalities, and thus propose a nuanced approach to study the digital divide.

Exploring theories from diverse perspectives within the social sciences whilst presenting clear examples of how each theory is applied in digital divide research, this book will appeal to scholars and undergraduate and postgraduate students interested in sociology of inequality, digital culture, Internet studies, mass communication, social theory, sociology, and media studies.


Prof. Steve Jones (UIC Distinguished Professor of Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago): This book provides a much-needed wide-ranging theoretical foundation for research on the digital divide. While scholars and activists have done yeoman’s work identifying, studying and narrowing digital divides, Ragnedda and Muschert have put together the theoretical infrastructure with which we may understand past efforts and move forward with new ones.

Prof. Bridgette Wessels (Newcastle University): This is a welcome volume that develops our understanding of digital divides. It does so through a highly informed understanding of current theoretical knowledge of digital divides in a range of disciplinary perspectives.  The authors combine to extend this knowledge in meaningful ways to address the nuances and complexities of digital divides.  The theoretical developments will be extremely beneficial for scholars and students working in the area of digital divides.


Table of Contents


Introduction: Massimo Ragnedda and Glenn W. Muschert



Section 1: Using classical social theories to understand digital divide


Chapter 1. Glenn W. Muschert and Ryan Gunderson, The Sociology of Simmel and Digital Divides: Information, Value, Exchange, and Sociation in the Networked Environment


Chapter 2: Massimo Ragnedda and Maria Laura Ruiu, Social capital and the three levels of digital divide.


Chapter 3: Tomohisa Hirata, Do contemporary media technologies and the architects of them fill the role of the psychoanalyst for the users of them?


Chapter 4: Barbara Barbosa Neves & Geoffrey Mead, The interpretive and ideal-type approach: Rethinking digital non-use(s) in a Weberian perspective



Section 2: Associative and communicative perspectives


Chapter 5: Gerard Goggin. ‘Disability and Digital Inequalities: Rethinking Digital Divides with Disability Theory’.


Chapter 6: Lorenzo Dalvit. The materiality of mobile phones and visual impairment: accessible, accessibility and access devices


Chapter 7: Susan Kretchmer Theorizing Digital Divides Through the Lens of Social Construction of Technology, Knowledge Gap, and Social Identity Construction


Chapter 8: John Haffner, Connection in Divided Space: Theorizing the Geographies of the Digital Divide


Chapter 9: Eva Klinkisch, Anne Suphan. A “recognitional perspective” on the 21st century digital divide



Section 3: Critical and alternative perspectives.


Chapter 10: Last Moyo Rethinking the network society: A decolonial and border gnosis of the digital divide in Africa


Chapter 11: Duygu Özsoy. Digital Divide in Turkey as a non- Western Country


Chapter 12: Citt Williams, Tania Gupta, Marilyn Wallace, Theorising Online Representation and the Voice of the Digital Subaltern.


Chapter 13. Morten Hjelholt and Jannick Schou. The Digital Divide and Citizen Classifications


Chapter 14: Emma A. Jane, Gendered cyberhate: a new digital divide?




Afterword. Jan Van Dijk 










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