Access to, and use of ICTs is as a new civil right: an essential necessity to be a full citizen

Liverpool LondonThe Digital Inclusion Policy and Research Conference 2019 (18 June to 19 June, London Campus of the University of Liverpool, University of Liverpool in London) brought together academic research with policy makers and stakeholders to review the current state for the art in digital inclusion policy and practice. DIPRC2019 drawn upon over two decades of research, policy, and practice. Over this time digital inequalities, digital inclusion and digital literacies have changed in response to developments in digital technologies and media. The primary aim of this conference was to link up international policy efforts to address digital inequalities, access and skills with the outcomes of recent research at from around the globe.

 

I underlined how the benefits of digital equity go well beyond the single citizen but impact on the community as a whole. We all known that an insufficient and unequal access to the Internet can create new forms of social segregation that exacerbate already existing social inequalities (Ragnedda 2018a). In fact, in a digital-reliant society being excluded from the digital realm means missing opportunities to improve one’s quality of life (Ragnedda and Mutsvairo 2018).

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Nominated by students for a teaching award

NominationI have been nominated by students for a teaching award. This the fourth time, since I joined Northumbria University (Newcastle), that students nominate me for this award.

Here details of my nomination:

Why do you want to thank this person?

I want to thank him for delivering good lectures and explaining the content in a clear way to the entire class. His experience in the programme and his patience in helping to explain things if it wasn’t clear from the onset, is very helpful overall.

How do they stand out from other staff at Northumbria?

He shows a lot of passion and enthusiasm in teaching the class and has a way of explaining things that makes him stand out from other ‘teachers’ I have come across in my life. In the seminar slots, he is engaging and challenges the class perception on the subject at hand plus takes the time to listen to people when they try to explain their understanding of the class subject.

 

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Operationalising and measuring Digital Capital: identification of indicators

PPDDNext week (22-24 May 2019) I will be in Washington DC at the Partnership for Progress on the Digital Divide 2019 International Conference. I will be presenting a paper written with Maria Laura Ruiu titled “Operationalising and measuring Digital Capital: identification of indicators”. l will first introduce the Digital Capital and how we have conceptualized in bourdeusian terms as “a set of internalized ability and aptitude” (digital competencies) as well as “externalized resources” (digital technology) that can be historically accumulated and transferred from one arena to another. Then I will try to explain how we have operationlized this new specific capital. Finally I will be presenting the first results of an empirical research we carried out in the UK to measure the Digital Capital. This is the first attempt ever to operationalize and measure this new specific capital. The model we will be proposing can be used and applied in other social and cultural contexts.

Mapping the Digital Divide in Africa. A Mediated Analysis

Mapping the Digital Divide in AfricaBruce Mutsvairo, Massimo Ragnedda (eds). Mapping the Digital Divide in Africa. A Mediated Analysis. Amsterdam University Press, 2019

Despite issues associated with the digital divide, mobile telephony is growing on the continent and the rise of smartphones has given citizens easy access to social networking sites. But the digital divide, which mostly reflects on one’s race, gender, socioeconomic status or geographical location, stands in the way of digital progress. What opportunities are available to tame digital disparities? How are different societies in Africa handling digital problems? What innovative methods are being used to provide citizens with access to critical information that can help improve their lives? Experiences from various locations in several sub-Saharan African countries have been carefully selected in this collection with the aim of providing an updated account on the digital divide and its impact in Africa.

Reviews

“For many years ‘the digital divide’ has been a catchphrase, often with little analytical content. This book provides studies of how the concept can be understood within an African context. The different contributions address problems related to digital opportunities as well as inhibitions to growth; thus, it has implications for how to comprehend technological, political, economic, social, and cultural development in a wider world. Of particular importance is that the book provides a theoretical understanding as well as an account of the impact of different technologies such as mobile phones.” – Helge Rønning, Professor, Department of Media and Communications, University of Oslo, Norway

“You need to take a different perspective of both the digital divide and Africa to understand the complexity of social and digital inequality in Africa. The digital divide is different in every part of the world. Reading this book you will grasp the complexity of the social, cultural and political affairs of Africa that are reinforcing the digital divide. Surprisingly, while mobile telephony is booming here, ICTs are in fact only reinforcing existing social inequality.” – Jan A.G.M. van Dijk, Professor, Department of Communication, University of Twente, the Netherlands

“This is a timely and much-needed collection that fills an important gap in the literature. It offers excellent conceptual tools and a selection of case studies that provide a useful map of the digital divide across the African continent and between Africa and the rest of the world. I especially appreciate the editors’ efforts to address African issues on their own terms and to problematize interpretive paradigms from the global north. It is a book that many will look forward to reading. I will recommend it to my students.” – Pier Paolo Frassinelli, Professor, School of Communication, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

 

Visiting Professor at the Lomonosov Moscow State University.

Ragnedda Visiting ProfessorI am honoured to have been awarded title of Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Journalism, Lomonosov Moscow State University

Faculty Council Meeting was held on 15 March 2019, and the decision was taken by a unanimous vote of the council members. The Faculty Council has justified this title “in recognition of my academic leadership in advancing knowledge through teaching and research, and ford dedicated service to Lomonosov Moscow State University”.

It is a big honour for me to have been awarded this title by the highest-ranked university in Russia. I am really grateful.

IAMCR 2019 Preconference/Special Issue Information, Communication and Society

gw_hum_boek_information-communicatioin-society_770x510_0Call for papers: IAMCR 2019 Preconference/Special Issue Information, Communication and Society

Era or Error of Transformation? Assessing Afrocentric Attributes of Digitalisation

Guest Editors: Bruce Mutsvairo (University of Technology Sydney), Massimo Ragnedda (Northumbria University) and Kristin Skare Orgeret (Oslo Metropolitan University)

 While the continent of Africa has long been depicted as economically and socially underdeveloped compared with other parts of the world, the potential of its peoples, natural resources and nations has always been recognised. In recent years however, it is the transformative capacity of digital communications media, particularly mobile phones, for young urbanised populations that is seen as heralding sustainable socio-economic growth and political stability. This special issue of Information, Communication & Society is intended to throw a rare and critical light upon these claims by examining how new media may be changing the everyday lives of Africans. It will also seek to understand the implications of these technological changes for nation-states within the wider geo-political context of post-colonial relations and the emergence of China as a major investor. What barriers, challenges or possibilities exist for digital literacy, human rights, democratic governance, business innovation and digital access?

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IAMCR 2019. Digital Divide Working Group

did-logo-optimalWe have been receiving many great submissions to our Working Group in the past weeks. Looks like we’ll have lots of interesting discussions and presentations at IAMCR 2019, Madrid. You can still submit your abstract (both individual and panel proposals are welcome) before February 8, 2019 through OCS system.

The overarching conference theme in 2019 is “Communication, Technology, and Human Dignity: Disputed Rights, Contested Truths”. The theme addresses issues of human rights and dignity in a modern globalized world, where ICTs and artificial intelligence are influencing the way human rights are currently understood, promoted and protected. The theme seeks to explore the role of information and communication technologies in both supporting and subverting the exercise of rights and the achievement of universal dignity. It also argues that such rights as the right to voice and visibility, to have one’s experiences and ideas fairly represented in public sphere, to have access to the comprehensive information are now gaining a status of fundamental rights in the society.

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