Reconceptualizing digital social inequality

  • Halford S
  • Savage M
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Abstract

This paper discusses conceptual tools which might allow an elaborated sociological analysis of the relationship between information and communication technology on the one hand, and social inequalities on the other. The authors seek to go beyond the familiar idea of the ‘digital divide’ to develop a focus on digital social inequality, through discussing three bodies of literature which are normally not discussed together. The paper thus addresses issues in feminist theory; the sociological field analysis of Pierre Bourdieu; and the Actor Network Theory. This paper shows that there are unexpected commonalities in these three perspectives which allow the possibility of effective cross-fertilization. All seek to avoid positing the existence of reified social groups which are held separate from technological forces, and all stress the role of fluid forms of relationality, from which social inequalities can emerge as forms of stabilization, accumulation and convertibility.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Digital divide
  • Social theory
  • Sociology

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Authors

  • Susan Halford

  • Mike Savage

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