Digital Inequality

Eszter Hargittai and Yuli Patrick Hsieh

in The Oxford Handbook of Internet Studies

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199589074
Published online March 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

Digital Inequality

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  • Business and Management
  • Business Ethics
  • Knowledge Management



This chapter investigates the research on inequalities in society, and also considers the digital inequality beyond overly simplistic conceptions of access to technologies. Additionally, it describes how people's background characteristics relate to their web-use skills and what they do online. The social implications of differentiated Internet uses are covered. The theoretical perspectives presented point out various forms of inequality associated with information and communications technology (ICT) uses, and explore both the causes and consequences of digital inequalities from various research fields and traditions. It is noted that skills are not randomly distributed across the population, and that the social context of use refers to how people integrate digital media into their lives. Different types of online activities may have divergent implications for varying aspects of social capital. There are three possible outcomes of widespread digital media uses when it comes to social inequality.

Keywords: digital inequality; social inequality; online; Internet; ICT; digital media; social capital

Article.  10248 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Business Ethics ; Knowledge Management

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