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Beyond the 'digital divide': Internet diffusion and inequality in Australia


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Willis, S and Tranter, BK 2006 , 'Beyond the 'digital divide': Internet diffusion and inequality in Australia' , Journal of Sociology, vol. 42, No. 1 , pp. 43-59 , doi: 10.1177/1440783306061352.

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The increasing potential of the Internet to widen access to information and enhance communication capacity has brought opposing arguments about the social consequences of Internet use. Advocates of the “digital divide” argue that the Internet advantages privileged groups while further marginalising disadvantaged social categories. Critics of the “digital divide” thesis see the expansion of the Internet as enabling and egalitarian, promoting social inclusion and facilitating democratic participation. In order to assess which view is more plausible, we examine the social barriers to Internet use in Australia over a five year period, using multivariate analyses of national survey data. Although the Internet has become more accessible to all social categories, and further technological diffusion should widen this accessibility, household income, age, education and occupational class location remain as key dimensions of differential Internet use.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Willis, S and Tranter, BK
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Sociology
ISSN: 1440-7833
DOI / ID Number: 10.1177/1440783306061352
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published by Sage Publications Ltd.

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