Digital Engagement and Life Chances

Digital Engagament and Life ChancesMassimo Ragnedda (2017), The third digital divide. A weberian approach to digital inequalities, Routledge. pp 80-82.

The individual and social characteristics of the subjects determine the resources available to them. In turn, resources affect access and act as the ground on which new digital inequalities can develop. The unequal distribution of resources produces unequal access to digital technologies and then produces the first form of exclusion (first level of digital divide). Inequality in access also depends on the characteristics of the technologies and different pathways of technological appropriation, which result in differences in skills, and, therefore, new forms of exclusion (second level of digital divide). The sum of the inequalities considered prevents full participation and social inclusion. The appropriation of technology tends to influence the level of social participation. The variables that illustrate the positioning of the individual in society may be ‘individual variables’ (age, gender, ethnic group) or ‘social variables’ (income, position in the labour market, status group). These variables influence how we access and use the resources which are at the base of the process of inclusion or exclusion from society. The phenomena of social inclusion and exclusion are increasingly part of the European political and discursive agenda.

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The Third Digital Divide A Weberian Approach to Digital Inequalities

The word clouds of “The Third Digital Divide. A Weberian approach to Digital Inequalities”. WordItOut-word-cloud-1940708.png

The 6Cs (six capitals). The digital capital

ecreaECREA Conference, Prague, 9-12 November 2016.

Abstract: Based on an extensive literature review on the existing influences between capital(s) and digital access, this paper will highlight the reciprocal influences between five capitals and digital capital, proposing a new theoretical approach in analysing digital inequalities. Social (Bourdieu 1986; Coleman 1990; Putnam 1995), economic (Bourdieu 1986), personal (Becker 1996), political (Seyd and Whitely 1997), and cultural capitals (Bourdieu 1986) influence the rise of digital capital which, in turn, not only generate a digital divide between people who can and cannot access the Internet (first level of digital divide), but also inequalities in terms of benefits they can gain on-line (second level of digital divide). Moreover, these 6C tend to create the third level of digital divide, seen as the returning social benefits of using the Internet.

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The third Digital Divide. A Weberian approach to digital inequalities

third-digital-divide Coming soon. The third Digital Divide. A Weberian approach to digital inequalities, Routledge, 2017

Drawing on the thought of Max Weber, in particular his theory of stratification, this book engages with the question of whether the digital divide simply extends traditional forms of inequality, or whether it also includes new forms of social exclusion, or perhaps manifests counter-trends that alleviate traditional inequalities whilst constituting new modalities of inequality. With attention to the manner in which social stratification in the digital age is reproduced and transformed online, the author develops an account of stratification as it exists in the digital sphere, advancing the position that, just as in the social sphere, inequalities in the online world go beyond the economic elements of inequality. As such, study of the digital divide should focus not simply on class dynamics or economic matters, but cultural aspects – such as status or prestige – and political aspects – such as group affiliations. Read the rest of this entry »

Demystifying Digital Divide and Digital Leisure.

leisureMassimo Ragnedda and Bruce Mutsvairo (2016), Demystifying Digital Divide and Digital Leisure. Chapter in David McGillivray, Gayle McPherson, Sandro Carnicelli (eds) Digital Leisure Cultures: Critical Perspectives, Routledge, pp. 107-119.

Abstract: This chapter investigates the contribution of the digital divide towards the consumption of leisure among users. In analysing the entertainment and leisure dimensions of the Internet, the chapter draws on the literature exploring digital divide, but also on concepts such as network theory and liquidity. With the experience of leisure consumption in a postmodern society increasingly important as a distinctive form of identity, we question the extent to which digital inequalities, based on skills, income and education, influence leisure consumption online.

Rethinking the digital divide (Keynote presentation, University of Exeter)

ExeterKeynote presentation: Rethinking digital divide, University of Exeter 03/06/2015 As more aspects of social life are migrating and expanding on-line, systems of structured inequalities are now well-entrenched and replicated in the digital sphere. However, the development of the theoretical aspect of digital divide studies has lagged behind the development of more empirical studies.  Traditional studies of digital divides have tended to be macro in scope, and often convey flavour of government reporting on infrastructure and electronic capacities.  Of course, there are many exceptions among scholars working in a variety of fields, however even given a variety of national and cultural perspectives from which such studies emerge, the theoretical underpinnings of such studies often proceed from a narrow range of perspectives (most commonly critical social theory perspectives, such as those in the Marxist and subsequent traditions).  While the critical schools have indeed brought great insight to the field, the narrow stretch of social theories applied to digital divides is surprising, given the diversity of theoretical developments which have developed in social theories, especially in the last half century.

Digital Inequalities: are social inequalities already existing in the society reproduced and reinforced online?

oxfOxford Internet Institute, Oxford University, 02/06/2015

Abstract: Social inequalities present in the social structures are not disconnected with the digital inequalities presents in the digital sphere. Digital inequalities, seen as the different skills at using information sources and opportunities, are embedded in social structures. Previous social inequalities not only affect digital divides but reinforce and exacerbate pre-existing social inequalities. Furthermore, several patterns which characterize and shape the social structure such as education, skills, income, occupation and gender influence the access and the use of the Internet. Analysed from this perspective it seems that social inequalities already existing in the society are reproduced and reinforced online. It might be argued that there exists a kind of recurring cycle between social and digital inequalities. Namely, social inequalities are the root of digital inequalities, and at the same time digital divides increase and reinforce social inequalities already present in a stratified social sphere. However, it is unclear whether the digital divide simply exacerbates traditional inequalities, or whether it also includes counter-trends that might mitigate traditional inequalities while forming new modalities of stratification.  Similarly, do traditional forms of inequality simply replicate themselves in the digital sphere, or does the digital divide operate under its own dynamics?

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