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Network and neighborhood effects in digital skills

Helsper, Ellen ORCID: 0000-0002-0852-2853 (2021) Network and neighborhood effects in digital skills. In: Hargittai, Eszter, (ed.) Handbook of Digital Inequality. Handbook of Digital Inequality. Elgar, Cheltenham, UK, 75 - 96. ISBN 9781788116565

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Identification Number: 10.4337/9781788116572.00012


This chapter examines how where people live and who they interact with influences their digital skills levels. This expands the theoretical toolkits used by digital inequalities researchers by going beyond explanations based on individual socio-economic and socio cultural characteristics. Analyses of 828 surveys and 23 interviews from eight different neighborhood types in Los Angeles and London suggest that individuals learn from the practices of others in their immediate environment and social networks. This suggests that informal learning and socialization through observation are important routes to skills acquisition. For digital skills to be acquired through these processes, trusted skilled individuals need to be available in the person's immediate environment. Just knowing skilled people is not enough, nor is having these available without trusting them. Incorporating network and neighborhood effects theories and methodologies into common macro and micro approaches to digital inequalities research thus improves understanding of why individuals are differently digital included.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Editor
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2021 09:06
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2024 17:54

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