Digital divides revisited: What is new about divides and their research?
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2016, 10:13 by Panayiota Tsatsou
This article critically reviews well-established and recent trends in digital divides literature and research, highlighting new elements of divides and the related research and making recommendations about future research. First, it disentangles some aspects of the puzzling nature and ongoing importance of digital divides. It then discusses how the concept of digital divides has evolved over the last two decades and how research literature has examined it on the basis of different attempts at contextualisation. The article brings together theoretical and empirical insights and suggests that digital divides be revisited so as to illustrate the need for less linear and more properly contextualised approaches to the concept and phenomenon of digital divides where technology, society and politics will be jointly taken into consideration to explain divides. It specifically proposes that digital divides and the research into these be revisited so as to emphasise the critical role of socio-cultural and decision-making dynamics in structuring the adoption of ICT in both qualitative and quantitative terms. Thus, it argues that the web of cultural traits in a society, with its own gaps and disparities, as well as policy and regulation dynamics, are in a constant dialogue with technology, together influencing digital divides and entailing implications for other forms of division in society