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Beyond the 'digital divide': internet diffusion and inequality in Australia

Citation

Willis, SM and Tranter, BK, Beyond the 'digital divide': internet diffusion and inequality in Australia, Journal of Sociology, 42, (1) pp. 43-59. ISSN 1440-7833 (2006) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright Statement

Copyright © 2006 by Australian Sociological Association.

DOI: doi:10.1177/1440783306061352

Abstract

The increasing potential of the Internet to widen access to information and enhance communication capacity has brought opposing arguments about the social consequences of Internet use. Advocates of the ‘digital divide’ thesis argue that the Internet advantages privileged groups while further marginalizing disadvantaged social categories. Critics of the thesis see the expansion of the Internet as enabling and egalitarian, promoting social inclusion and facilitating democratic participation. In order to assess which view is more plausible, we examine the social barriers to Internet use in Australia over a five-year period, using multivariate analyses of national survey data. The notion of a ‘digital divide’ is too simplistic to capture the complexity of social barriers to Internet use. Although the Internet has become more accessible to all social categories, and further technological diffusion should widen this accessibility, household income, age, education and occupational class location remain as key dimensions of differential Internet use.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:digital divide • Internet • social class • social inequality
Research Division:Studies in Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Community Service (excl. Work)
Objective Field:Social Class and Inequalities
Author:Willis, SM (Ms Suzanne Willis)
Author:Tranter, BK (Professor Bruce Tranter)
ID Code:39282
Year Published:2006
Web of Science® Times Cited:61
Deposited By:Sociology and Social Work
Deposited On:2006-08-01
Last Modified:2012-03-05
Downloads:19 View Download Statistics

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