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.
Chapter 5: Inequalities in Power and Participation in Digital Societies
Inequalities in Power and Participation in Digital Societies
‘Internet is not water; internet is not air. Internet is very important. However, if we use it as a revolution tool to incite others to kill and burn, it will be shut down not only for a week, but longer than that.’
In previous chapters, I described economic and educational inequalities of digital engagement that dominate research and policy agendas. Another domain that has received attention is digital civic engagement. This area’s history in media and communications research and policy stretches back to before the mass diffusion of the internet; critical media literacy initiatives have tried to unite ...