Beyond the Digital Divide: Contextualizing the Information Society

Petr Lupač
Charles University, Czech Republic

Product Details
15 May 2020
Emerald Publishing Limited
248 pages - 152 x 229mm
This book critically reviews existing digital divide research and challenges its core thesis, which posits unequal Internet access as a newly formed source of social disadvantage. The author begins by introducing the building blocks of the information society theory. The book goes on to present a systematic overview of digital divide research - its development, arguments attesting to the social gravity of the digital divide, and current findings on the uneven diffusion and use of the Internet. It evaluates the validity of the theories and concepts associated with digital divide research. The author offers an overview and re-examination of six presumptions and biases found in the prevailing approach to the digital divide. Given that Internet use has, in certain contexts, become an absolute necessity, an alternative approach is proposed, recognizing the indispensability of Internet use as context dependent. The book concludes with a consideration of the implications that this new perspective has for the information society theory and policies as well as for the role of social science in the informatization process.
1. Introduction 
2. Searching for the Core of the Information Society Theory: Developments, Versions, Arguments 
3. Manuel Castells: Towards the Digital Divide of the Information Age 
4. Digital Divide Research 
5. Tenuous Assumptions in Digital Divide Research 
6. Understanding Indispensability: Contexts, Networks and Discourses 
7. Conclusion: Towards a New Theory of Information Society
Petr Lupač obtained a Doctoral Degree in Sociology from the Faculty of Arts at Charles University, Czech Republic where he now serves as Assistant Professor. He has participated in academic and research programmes in Kansas State University and New York University. His primary sociological interests include technology, globalization and media. Since 2015, he has also been working as an external consultant for the Czech Strategy for Digital Literacy. He is the Czech representative for the World Internet Project. Beyond the Digital Divide: Contextualizing the Information Society is updated and revised from a book originally published by the author in Czech.

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