eCite Digital Repository

Disability citizenship and digital capital: the case of engagement with a social enterprise telco


Darcy, S and Yerbury, H and Maxwell, H, Disability citizenship and digital capital: the case of engagement with a social enterprise telco, Information, Communication and Society, 22, (4) pp. 538-553. ISSN 1369-118X (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

DOI: doi:10.1080/1369118X.2018.1548632


This paper uses as its base a key initiative involving a not-for-profit organisation (NPO), government start-up funding and a social enterprise which evolved through three phases. The purpose of the initiative was the development of a smart phone technology platform for people with disability. The paper’s purpose is to answer questions about the ways in which the mobile technology, seen here as assistive technologies, supported the development of disability citizenship and active citizenship. Data were collected through in-depth interviews conducted at three points in the 13- week programme during which participants with disability received customised support for their phone and training in its use, at no cost. Fifteen participants volunteered to take part in the research project, along with their significant other and service provider. Key themes were identified in the preliminary analysis. Exploring these using Ragnedda’s ([2017]. The third digital divide: A Weberian approach to digital inequalities. Abingdon: Routledge) three levels of digital divide, and Wilson’s ([2006]. The information revolution and developing countries. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press) categories of access allowed a series of philosophical, ethical and human services management questions to emerge, challenging the optimism with which the digital economy is presented as a solution to issues of inequality. Although the mobile technologies were very successful as assistive technologies for some participants, the findings reinforced the potential for such technologies to further entrench aspects of social exclusion. They also identified ways in which the shift in the role of the NPO to social entrepreneurship, and its relationships with government and private enterprise, had the potential to undermine the exercise of disability citizenship by turning participants into consumers.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:digital economy, disability, active citizenship, social enterprise, mobile technology, digital divide
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:People with disability
Objective Division:Information and Communication Services
Objective Group:Communication technologies, systems and services
Objective Field:Mobile technologies and communications
UTAS Author:Maxwell, H (Dr Hazel Maxwell)
ID Code:129934
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:9
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2018-12-21
Last Modified:2022-08-30

Repository Staff Only: item control page