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The social relativity of digital exclusion: applying relative deprivation theory to digital inequalities

Helsper, Ellen ORCID: 0000-0002-0852-2853 (2017) The social relativity of digital exclusion: applying relative deprivation theory to digital inequalities. Communication Theory, 27 (3). 223 - 242. ISSN 1050-3293

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Identification Number: 10.1111/comt.12110


Digital inequalities research adopted the idea that exclusion is compound and multifaceted. Nevertheless, digital exclusion theory and empirical research often takes an individual, static approach; assuming that personal characteristics such as socioeconomic status consistently influence how individuals engage with information and communication technologies across different contexts. This article makes a theoretical contribution by looking at the value of relative deprivation theory (RDT) in understanding digital inequalities. RDT argues that evaluations of personal circumstances depend on social and temporal contexts and are, therefore, relative. Digital inequalities research could benefit from a shift toward this relative approach in both theorization and empirical research by incorporating explanations based on context and social group processes into existing individual and structural explanations of digital inequalities.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2016 International Communication Association
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2016 16:02
Last Modified: 22 May 2024 07:00

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