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Disability citizenship and digital capital: the case of engagement with a social enterprise telco

Darcy, S, Yerbury, H and Maxwell, H ORCID: 0000-0003-0610-4698 2018 , 'Disability citizenship and digital capital: the case of engagement with a social enterprise telco' , Information, Communication and Society , pp. 1-16 , doi:

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This paper uses as its base a key initiative involving a not-for-profitorganisation (NPO), government start-up funding and a socialenterprise which evolved through three phases. The purpose ofthe initiative was the development of a smart phone technologyplatform for people with disability. The paper’s purpose is toanswer questions about the ways in which the mobile technology,seen here as assistive technologies, supported the developmentof disability citizenship and active citizenship. Data were collectedthrough in-depth interviews conducted at three points in the 13-week programme during which participants with disabilityreceived customised support for their phone and training in itsuse, at no cost. Fifteen participants volunteered to take part in theresearch project, along with their significant other and serviceprovider. Key themes were identified in the preliminary analysis.Exploring these using Ragnedda’s ([2017]. The third digital divide:A Weberian approach to digital inequalities. Abingdon: Routledge)three levels of digital divide, and Wilson’s ([2006]. The informationrevolution and developing countries. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press)categories of access allowed a series of philosophical, ethical andhuman services management questions to emerge, challengingthe optimism with which the digital economy is presented as asolution to issues of inequality. Although the mobile technologieswere very successful as assistive technologies for someparticipants, the findings reinforced the potential for suchtechnologies to further entrench aspects of social exclusion. Theyalso identified ways in which the shift in the role of the NPO tosocial entrepreneurship, and its relationships with governmentand private enterprise, had the potential to undermine theexercise of disability citizenship by turning participants intoconsumers.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Darcy, S and Yerbury, H and Maxwell, H
Keywords: Digital economy; disability; active citizenship; social enterprise; mobile technology; digital divide
Journal or Publication Title: Information, Communication and Society
Publisher: Routledge
ISSN: 1369-118X
DOI / ID Number:
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Copyright 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

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