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The Real Digital Divide: Citizens versus Consumers
The real digital divide: Citizens versus consumers
Oscar H. Gandy

The study of new media can be approached from a variety of perspectives. One useful approach frames the new media from within a set of distinct perspectives on the users or audiences for these media. Webster and Phalen (1997) describe three prominent constructions that dominate much contemporary writing about audiences. We are familiar with the somewhat critical notion of the audience as a commodity. This perspective suggests that audiences are ‘produced’ by the media system for sale to advertisers or sponsors of persuasive appeals. A somewhat different construction recognizes that audiences may be consumers of the information and entertainment that media provide. The third perspective, which constructs audiences as ...

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