Week 2 Reading- The Digital Divide

The nature of the digital divide is contentious. The introduction of  ’s paper concerns itself with the rurality of indigenous communities and how the lack of infrastructure creates a ‘digital divide.’ However, scholar Huffman suggests it is not merely physical accessibility which causes the ‘digital divide,’ rather, the divide concerns digital ability; “The… digital divide is no longer about the “haves” and the “have nots” (who has access) but about “who can use it” and “who cannot.” It is due to this disparity in digital literacy that ‘knowledge gap’s’ ensue. The digital sphere creates “online opportunities” which are “more likely to be taken up by those with higher education and income.” However, (blah blah) makes a valid point in relation to indigenous communities “determining whether the internet was used for job searches, for instance, says little about digital inclusion when there are no jobs nearby.”  It is therefore irrelevant if

  • Inclusion is not merely physical, it has to do with digital ability, geography
  • “even with computers, some people did not have the necessary skills or motivation to make use of them to the same degree as other” pg. 52
  • “social disadvantages, such as low income and lack of education, appear to be linked to the digital divide” pg. 52
  • Knowledge gap hypothesis à the richer get richer. Would infrastructure in rural, low socio- economic environments
  • “capital- enhancing online opportunities are more likely to be taken up by those with higher education and income ‘which would accordingly reinforce their already strong positions in society’” pg.53
  • “determining whether the internet was used for job searches, for instance, says little about digital inclusion when there are no jobs nearby” pg. 55
  • “geographic isolation makes the social context more decisive in any action or decision” pg. 55
  • “providing unlimited opportunities for social and economic development” pg. 60
  • “indigenous peoples in particular are often depicted as ‘waiting, endlessly, to catch up to the privileged west’ on the technological front” pg. 60
  • “there cannot be any single infrastructure ‘fix’ for the digital divide in remote Australia” pg. 8
  • What happens to the 14% who don’t have access to internet? Do they suffer or do they enjoy this exclusion
  • socio-economic issues being bolstered by technology
  • Do they just not want it? Can they afford it? Lack of education, etc.
  • Is social exclusion the cause of digital exclusion?
  • “Such practices, a continuation of the oldest living culture in the world, sat alongside media consumption habits not unlike those of mainstream Australian households – including news, video clips, computer games and social networking applications. We looked at what people used the internet for, and concluded that the internet can enable a level of personal autonomy that is significant for residents of outstations, but that this does not necessarily signify a solution to social disadvantage.”
  • The New Frontier of Digital Inequality
  • “Web 2.0, especially the social networks, allow the “citizen-amateur” to carry out professional activities that were in the past reserved for organisations.” Pg.99 à giving agency to the everyday citizen
  • “new types of tools that break with the traditional direction between producer and consumer” pg 99
  • “to a logic of connective action in which citizens participate in an individualised yet coordinated way through social networks.” Pg. 100
  • “form of production has generated is independence and autonomy; that is, the possibility of making decisions about our own lives and having independence with respect to any form of authority.”
  • “digital participation and peer production are generating a positive scenario by increasing the repertoire of action available to citizens, their ways to express demands, participation in the economic sphere and stimuli connecting individuals to virtuous practices.” Pg.100
  • “and that “access to Internet” did not mean “use of Internet”.” Pg. 101
  • “why a particular person is in a position to transform the possibilities offered by the Internet into opportunities to improve his or her life” pg. 101
  • “capacities to manage the Internet: digital skills” pg.101
  • “citizens who use the Internet would be more socially integrated” pg 102
  • Inequality in the form of “but in the different possibilities citizens have to express themselves and participate in any social sphere in a proactive way” pg 102
  • The digital divide revisited
  • “however the poorest people, who would benefit the most from Internet and computer access, are often the least likely to have it” pg. 239
  • “Access is no longer enough.”
  • “digital divide will not actually close until citizens have access to technology at home and understand how to use it appropriately”
  • “access to technology provides citizens with information necessary to make informed decisions, online job and career development training, and access to social services and health information”
  • “Only 2% of college graduates do not use the Internet compared with 32% of those without a high school degree (Pew, 2017).”
  • “a lack of infrastructures to handle remoteness of rural communities” pg. 240
  • “The new digital divide is no longer about the “haves” and the “have nots” but about “who can use it” and “who cannot.”” Pg 243
  • “profound shift in the kind of skills used and needed to operate in the digital world” pg.
  • “The opportunities include superior access to rich, multimedia content”

to be edited


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