With the increased digitisation of society comes an increased concern about who is left behind. From societal causes to the impact of everyday actions, The Digital Disconnect explores the relationship between digital and social inequalities, and the lived consequences of digitisation. Ellen J. Helsper goes beyond questions of digital divides and who is connected. She asks why and how social and digital inequalities are linked and shows the tangible outcomes of socio-digital inequalities in everyday lives. The book: • Introduces the key theories and concepts needed to understand both ‘traditional’ and digital inequalities research. • Investigates a range of socio-digital inequalities, from digital access and skills, to civic participation, social engagement, and everyday content creation and consumption. • Brings research to life with a range of qualitative vignettes, drawing out the personal experiences that lay at the heart of global socio-digital inequalities. The Digital Disconnect is an expert exploration of contemporary theory, research and practice in socio-digital inequalities. It is also an urgent and impassioned call to broaden horizons, expand theoretical and methodological toolkits, and work collectively to help achieve a fairer digital future for all. Ellen J. Helsper is Professor of Digital Inequalities at the Department of Media and Communications at London School of Economics and Political Science.
Skills and Learning Inequalities in Digital Societies
‘ICT skills determine the effective use that is made of ICTs, and are critical to leveraging their full potential for social and economic development. Economic growth and development will remain below potential if economies are not capable of exploiting new technologies and reaping their benefits.’
The previous chapter discussed research, policy, and interventions in access and infrastructure. Framed within the paradigm of first-level digital inequalities, Ben illustrated the link between a lack of high-quality and ubiquitous access to ICTs and outcomes. It turns out that access alone is not sufficient to tackle inequalities in opportunities in digital societies. Research that defined inclusion as access to ICTs found individuals who were ‘unexpectedly ...