Communication Digital Divide
by
Peter A. Chow-White, Betty Ackah, Philippa Adams
  • LAST MODIFIED: 24 July 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756841-0210

Introduction

This article explores the different treatments and conceptualizations of the digital divide. In the broadest sense, a digital divide encapsulates the inequality that exists between individuals, social groups, nations, etc., in terms of access to and use and impact of the digital infrastructure, knowledge, and skills that constitute the digital age. Scholars discuss the multidirectional trajectory the term “digital divide” has traveled and the various approaches that different authors have in defining and applying it. The fast pace of technological advancement also influences the rapid evolution of theorizing the term, with focus shifting from technology to technology and particular ecological and social changes. Some scholars argue the divide increases with each new technological innovation. Inequalities in access to and use of digital technologies are further exacerbated by the exclusion of disadvantaged persons and societies from knowledge production and content creation activities in the digital sphere. The divide therefore is manifest in the existence of knowledge monopolies, where regulations, skill sets, standards, and innovations are monopolized according to hegemonic structures. Thus, few pockets of society actively participate in meaningful interaction with ICTs in a manner that generates and directs discourse/rhetoric in the communication technologies mediated public sphere. The determinants of the digital divide largely mirror the elements of social and economic inequalities. They include income, infrastructure, education, geography, race, ethnicity, and gender. These different aspects are manifest in varying degrees depending on the context.

Anthologies and Edited Works

These texts present a contemporary and diverse view of new media technology and cyberculture. The approaches are predominantly critical in a manner that delves beneath dominant perspectives to unearth marginalized lived experiences. Nayar 2010 provides introductory and comprehensive writings about the relationship between new media and cybercultures anthology. This book sets out a critical examination of cyberculture through the prism of sex, race, and gender. Leigh 2011 describes an international view of factors that give rise to the digital divide, while discussing the opportunities that an equitable information society could present. Ferro, et al. 2010 zooms into discussions exploring the constituents and ramifications of the digital divide, arguing that understanding is important to establishing the conditions that are necessary to actualize digital equity in a sustainable manner. Ferro, et al. 2010 also showcases a wide range of contributions that cover such issues as the interplay between gender, education, regional differences, and ethnicity in digital divides. Afrofuturism directly addresses questions on race and ethnicity in the cyberworld and examines various ways in which cultural outputs, perceptions, and experiences of race interact with digital media technology. Nakamura and Chow-White (2012) is a collection of interdisciplinary and progressive essays on the social shaping of digital media technologies and race. The authors set a new agenda for the digital divide scholarship by arguing that we need to broaden the conversation from infrastructure access to quality of connection and the new role of data and code.

  • Ferro, E., Y. K. Dwivedi, R. J. Gil-Garcia, and M. D. Williams, eds. 2010. Handbook of research on overcoming digital divides: Constructing an equitable and competitive information society. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

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    This handbook emphasizes the need for prioritizing an information society where the various social groups enjoy equitable access to information and knowledge. Social participation in knowledge creation on an individual, social, and national level—toward making international impacts in the competitive knowledge-economy—is integral. Contributors explore the multiple theories on digital divides, and, among other things, situate their complexity within various contexts to unearth the nuances to the phenomenon.

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    • Leigh, P. R., ed. 2011. International exploration of technology equity and the digital divide: Critical, historical and social perspectives. New York: Information Science Reference.

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      This work has a principal objective of using lessons from past experiences to shape measures toward eradicating instances of digital inequalities. Leigh presents a comprehensive volume that draws on global contexts to give a critical exploration into the historical, social, political, and economic determinants that have occasioned (and continue to engender) the digital divide.

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      • Nayar, P. K., ed. 2010. The new media and cybercultures anthology. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

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        Nayar’s text is widely recommended for undergraduate media courses. However, it is also germane for the researcher or scholar interested in investigating the intricacies and manifestations of cyberculture through the prism of gender, race, sexuality, among others. With its focus on new media, this text suffers the inevitable phenomenon of presenting contemporary examples that are already “archaic” due to the rapid changes in new media innovations.

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        • Nelson, Alondra. 2002. Special Issue: Afrofuturism. Social Text 71.

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          Afrofuturism purposefully stamps African American realities onto the practices and experiences of digital technologies. The essays included in this special issue probe the subjective positionality of the African American as an individual, and African American cultural production as mediated through digital technoculture.

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          The Conceptual Elusiveness of Digital Divide

          This section explores the fundamental idea of digital divides and the contributing factors to this issue. The majority of articles focus on the socioeconomic variables including income, wealth, age, education, and racial backgrounds as the main influence on the digital divide. This highlights how digital technologies reinforce social inequality.

          Technological Determinism of Digital Divide

          Attewell 2001 provides two forms of digital divide using access as a central theme. Attewell focuses on access to technology as the first digital divide and access to computer use as the second divide. Van Dijk 2006 composes a more critical view on digital divide by looking at motivational, material, skill, and usage access. Compaine 2001 investigates digital divides from various contexts to argue that the increasing use of the Internet can have a positive impact on the diffusion patterns of other technologies. Husing and Selhofer 2004 also provides similar research on the diffusion of digital media technologies in the context of European Union countries. This essay highlights the associations between diffusion and access levels with socioeconomic status of populations. Hoffman, et al. 2006 discusses similar findings about the disparities in income and education that can influence the computer and Internet access experienced by Caucasians and African Americans. Servon 2002 also supports these findings and argues that disadvantaged groups lack access to digital technologies. The TIA U.S. Department of Commerce Report supports all these aforementioned findings of a causal relationship between socioeconomic status and digital divides in US households. Gebremichael and Jackson 2006 explores the measures to mitigate the widening digital divide in Sub-Saharan Africa by challenging skilled professionals in the knowledge economy and establishing collaborative relationships with African counterparts. Quibria, et al. 2003 examines the use of policy guidelines to maximize the socioeconomic potential through the adoption of ICT.

          • Attewell, P. 2001. The first and second digital divides. Sociology of Education 74.3: 252.

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            The definition of the digital divide offered by this text is based on the central theme of access. Based on markers such as economic, social, and educational marginalization, this text explains how the first phase of the divide, access to technology, gave way to unequal access to computers and the attendant capital that access affords.

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            • Compaine, B. M. 2001. The digital divide: Facing a crisis or creating a myth? Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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              The editor argues from the outset that he does not consider the digital divide an established concept but rather a moving target whose theoretical treatment has not been able to grasp the intricacies of various contexts. Although contributors present statistics to illustrate the incidences of digital inequalities, Compaine ultimately suggests that the increase in Internet use is similar to the diffusion patterns of other technologies; access and use will rise steadily.

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              • Gebremichael, M. D., and J. W. Jackson. 2006. Bridging the gap in Sub-Saharan Africa: A holistic look at information poverty and the region’s digital divide. Government Information Quarterly 23.2: 267–280.

                DOI: 10.1016/j.giq.2006.02.011Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                Attempts to discuss measures toward mitigating the widening gap in access to and usage of information and communication technologies in Sub-Saharan Africa. It challenges skilled professionals in the knowledge economy, especially from the Global North, to institute collaborative relationships with African counterparts to resolve issues of inequality.

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                • Hoffman, D. L., T. P. Novak, and A. Schlosser. 2006. The evolution of the digital divide: How gaps in Internet access may impact electronic commerce. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 5.3.

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                  Examines the impact that factors such as income and education have on computer and Internet access and usage. Based on the United States, this analysis targets the differences in access experienced by Caucasians as compared to African Americans. The article highlights these disparities within the understanding that achieving equality in access is important to ensuring that all segments of society benefit from the positive impacts of the Internet.

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                  • Husing, T., and H. Selhofer. 2004. DIDIX: A digital divide index for measuring inequality in IT diffusion. IT & Society 1.7: 21–38.

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                    Suggests the DDIX as a tool for measuring the diffusion of computers and the Internet within European Union member states. Based on the tenets of diffusion theory, the principal aim is to highlight the diffusion and access levels, especially among socioeconomically disadvantaged populations in the various nations.

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                    • NTIA US Department of Commerce. 1999. Falling through the Net III: Defining the digital divide.

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                      This report describes the phenomenon of the digital divide in US households in the late 20th century. The divide is conceptualized in terms of (in)access to telephones, computers, and the Internet. It divulges the social groups that are disadvantaged versus those with most access and attempts to examine extenuating measures.

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                      • Quibria, M. G., S. N. Ahmed, T. Tschang, and M. -L. Reyes-Macasaquit. 2003. Digital divide: Determinants and policies with special reference to Asia. Journal of Asian Economics 13.6: 811–825.

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                        Places the digital divide within the context of (in)access to ICTs. The article presents a detailed quantitative analysis that illustrates the economic basis for occurrences of digital divides in the early 21st century. It also provides policy guidelines for developing countries on maximizing their socioeconomic potential through the promotion of ICT adoption.

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                        • Servon, L. 2002. Bridging the digital divide: Technology, community, and public policy. New York: Blackwell.

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                          Servon challenges the misconception of addressing the digital divide by merely providing access to ICTs. Based on fieldwork in the United States, she explains that the positive attributes of access to technology also deepen inequalities for those social groups that lack access. In as much as technology is a critical resource, ensuring access needs to have a multidimensional outlook that also addresses issues of education, policies, economic, autonomy, etc.

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                          • Van Dijk, Jan. 2006. The deepening divide: Inequality and the information society. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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                            Van Dijk highlights the different forms of access that characterize the digital divide: motivational, material, skill, and usage access. He provides an in-depth analysis of the literature on this phenomenon and demonstrates that inequality in access to digital technologies is not decreasing (as is widely thought) but rather increasing. He stresses that said inequality should be looked at beyond the technological ambit to its broader social and political context.

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                            Demographic and Geographic Characteristics of Digital Divide

                            All of the articles in this section address the demographic and geographic characteristics that influence the digital divide. Bimber 2000 investigates Internet access and usage between men and women in the United States in order to explain the biased nature of Internet contents and usage against women. Bonfadelli 2002; Chinn and Fairlie 2006; Cho, et al. 2003; and Hüsing 2004 use socioeconomic and demographic variables including education, age, wealth, and racial backgrounds to explore the contributing factors of digital divide. Grimes 2000 investigates the challenges in bridging the rural-urban gap within the ICTs. Ono and Zavodny 2007 is an extensive study examining the socioeconomic factors impacting the digital divide across different countries and continents. Similarly, Ramalingam and Hernandez 2016 offers an overview of tangible and intangible dimensions of digital inequality worldwide. Warschauer 2003 is a foundational text that provides an evaluation on the conceptual and contextual intricacies of the digital divide over a period of time. Barzilai-Nahon 2006 advances arguments in respect of the key components used to measure the digital gap.

                            • Barzilai-Nahon, K. 2006. Gaps and bits: Conceptualizing measurements for digital divide/s. The Information Society 22.5: 269–278.

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                              Barzilai advances arguments in respect of the key components used to measure the digital gap. Citing the need for policymakers to adopt comprehensive measures as against monotopical indices to measure the digital divide, he outlines a systematic framework that provides a robust scheme of analysis.

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                              • Bimber, B. 2000. Measuring the gender gap on the Internet. Social Science Quarterly 81.3: 868–876.

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                                Sets out to examine Internet access and usage between men and women in the United States. Based on survey data, Bimber points out the biased nature of Internet contents and usage against women. He supports this assertion by seeking to explain the causal contextual circumstances and characteristics that necessitate the gender gap.

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                                • Bonfadelli, H. 2002. The Internet and knowledge gaps: A theoretical and empirical investigation. European Journal of Communication 17.1: 65–84.

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                                  Highlights the role limitations of Internet access play in addressing knowledge and information gaps. Bonfadelli examines demographic variables such as education and wealth on the access and use of Internet with empirical evidence, while presenting a theoretical discussion of the information society and its various constituents.

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                                  • Chinn, M. D., and R. W. Fairlie. 2006. The determinants of the global digital divide: A cross-country analysis of computer and Internet penetration. Oxford Economic Papers 59.1: 16–44.

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                                    Analyzes factors such as economic and demographic variables, as well as infrastructure indicators, to determine the uptake and use of computers and the Internet in 161 countries. Aiming to present contextual explanations, Chinn and Fairlie propose measures aimed at mitigating the global digital gap.

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                                    • Cho, J., H. G. de Zuniga, H. Rojas, and D. V. Shah. 2003. Beyond access: The digital divide and Internet uses and gratifications. IT & Society 1.4: 46–72.

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                                      Discusses the various subgroups that fall on different sides of the digital gap and their differing use and gratification tendencies. The article reveals that computer and user satisfaction is closely linked to such factors as socioeconomic status and age, which also interplay with the conditions of the digital divide. The gap in access to computers may be narrowing in many cases but not the gratification divide.

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                                      • Grimes, S. 2000. Rural areas in the information society: Diminishing distance or increasing learning capacity? Journal of Rural Studies 16.1: 13–21.

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                                        This paper brings to attention the rural-urban gap within the information communication technology (ICT) space/society and highlights the challenges inherent in the attempt to bridge this gap. Specifically, Grimes notes the potential of rural areas to exploit new technologies while overcoming the challenges in a European context.

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                                        • Hüsing, T. 2004. The impact of ICT on social cohesion: Looking beyond the digital divide. Technical Report EUR 21474 EN. Seville, Spain: European Commission Joint Research Centre (DG JRC) Institute for Prospective Technological Studies.

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                                          Against the backdrop of the diverse challenges to social cohesion that the then new member states of the European Union faced (the ten countries that joined the European Union in May 2004), the report investigates the correlation between knowledge in ICT, employment prospects, education, and other factors in the various countries.

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                                          • Ono, H., and M. Zavodny. 2007. Digital inequality: A five country comparison using microdata. Social Science Research 36.3: 1135–1155.

                                            DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2006.09.001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                            This is an extensive study spanning countries from different continents with differing socioeconomic, cultural, and other realities. The article both unearths the distinct contextual nuances that determine and shape the trajectory of the digital divide in each country, while also demonstrating the linkages in terms of underlying causal factors.

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                                            • Ramalingam, B., and K. Hernandez. 2016. The multiple forms of digital inequality. In World social science report: Challenging inequalities, pathways to a just world. 68–69. Paris: UNESCO.

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                                              Offers an overview of tangible and intangible dimensions of digital inequality. Highlights the four billion people in the world who lack access to the Internet and therefore its benefits. Questions of access, or control over access, concern societal, political, and economic thinkers and problem solvers.

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                                              • Warschauer, M. 2003. Technology and social inclusion: Rethinking the digital divide. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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                                                Warschauer’s book is a foundational text that provides an evaluation on the conceptual and contextual intricacies of the digital divide over a period of time. He does this by drawing on exhaustive research in countries at varying stages of economic status. Among other key contributions, this book touches on the need for a paradigm shift from focusing on physical access to ICTs and their effective use to advance social inclusion.

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                                                Broader Definitions: Accessibility, Utilization, and Impact

                                                In his trilogy on the “network society,” Castells 2000 explores how the rise of network computer systems gave rise to the knowledge economy and globalization in the information age. Many authors apply Castells’s expansive framework to examine the contributing factors and resolutions to the digital divide. DiMaggio, et al. 2001 presents a sociological analysis of the Internet’s implications for social change including the link between the Internet and inequality, the global digital divide, and inequality among content creators. Hargittai 2008 investigates the disparate effects of ICTs on marginalized and privileged populations. Hilbert 2011 highlights the socioeconomic and other conditions contributing the digital gender divide, and proposes measures to resolve these conditions. Norris 2001 provides a multilevel analysis of the impact of the Internet in diverse societies. Parayil 2007 focuses on the oxymoron of increasing returns and digital inequality in an ICT driven capitalist system. Warschauer 2003 explores the connection between digital divides in terms of access with its vast nuances and sociopolitical settings.

                                                • Castells, M. 2000. The rise of the network society. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.

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                                                  The present short summary does not do justice to the illustrations and theorization that Castells expounds on in his trilogy. This extensive work spans political, sociological, and economic analysis that explains the global reality of the information age. A principal thesis is the idea of the contemporary networked world, akin to network computer systems, where occurrences in one metropolis have an instantaneous global effect.

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                                                  • DiMaggio, P., E. Hargittai, W. R. Neuman, and J. P. Robinson. 2001. Social implications of the Internet. Annual Review of Sociology 27:307–336.

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                                                    Presents a sociological analysis of the Internet’s implications for social change against the backdrop of contributions to this subject by various noted authors on the Internet. Delves into a range of topics including the link between the Internet and inequality, the global digital divide, and inequality among content creators with regard to the public attention that they command.

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                                                    • Hargittai, E. 2008. The digital reproduction of inequality. In Social stratification. Edited by D. Grusky, 936–944. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

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                                                      The chapter is an investigation of the disparate effects of ICTs on marginalized and privileged populations. In recognition of how inhibitive studies that focus on access and non-access are, Hargittai carries out an analysis of ICTs propensity to marginalize and engender inequalities even among users.

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                                                      • Hilbert, M. 2011. Digital gender divide or technologically empowered women in developing countries? A typical case of lies, damned lies, and statistics. Women’s Studies International Forum 34.6: 479–489.

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                                                        Discourse about the gender divide, especially in low income countries, are sometimes rife with misconceptions and assumptions that hamper efforts toward real change. Hilbert bases his assertions on empirical studies, which highlight the socioeconomic and other conditions that drive the digital gender divide and how ICTs can be used to resolve these conditions.

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                                                        • Norris, P. 2001. Digital divide: Civic engagement, information poverty, and the Internet worldwide. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                          Norris offers a multilevel analysis of the impact of the Internet in diverse societies. This is an ambitious project with a global reach that is essentially a snapshot of the multiple interactions that different social groups and countries have with the Internet’s multidimensional impact.

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                                                          • Parayil, G. 2007. Digital divide and increasing returns: Contradictions of informational capitalism. The Information Society 21.1: 41–51.

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                                                            Draws an interesting parallel between capitalism and the growth of the information society, which Parayil terms “informational capitalism.” The rise of informational capitalism breeds certain characteristics that capitalist societies are all too familiar with: information asymmetry, social and economic inequalities, and the persistence of social and economic hegemonic forces, among other things. The analysis emphasizes the oxymoron of increasing returns and digital inequality in an ICT-driven capitalist system.

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                                                            • Warschauer, M. 2003. Dissecting the “digital divide”: A case study in Egypt. The Information Society 19:297–304.

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                                                              As a critique of the conceptualization of the digital divide in terms of access, Warschauer demonstrates how a deeper understanding of the phenomena is necessarily linked to an appreciation of its vast nuances and sociopolitical settings. Warschauer critiques the concept of a digital divide, especially in its decontextualized treatment.

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                                                              Race and the Body in the Digital Age of ICTs

                                                              This section explores the social construction of race, gender, ethnicity, and ideology in the increasingly media-saturated world. Topics include the racialized bodies in the digital world along with the digital production and construction of gender and hegemony mediated by information, media and technologies.

                                                              Racialized Bodies in the Digital World

                                                              The essays in this section focus on the simultaneously integral and marginal characteristic of race and identity as is defined and maintained in digital spaces. Nakamura 2002 provides a fundamental piece in studying the digital production and construction of race, ethnicity, and identity online. González 2000 critically examines the concept of bodily assemblage of culture and ethnicity in the digital media–saturated world. Byrne 2008 includes a discussion of how the online social platforms and communicative networks shape the construction of racial identities and experiences in the offline realm. Thomas 2008 elaborates on this discussion by studying the transcultural engagement in the online gaming environment between US and Korean youth, in order to understand the intricate connections and relationships of the online game world across the geographic borders and cultural lines. Leonard 2003 investigates the manifestation of white hegemonic ideals in the gaming industry through an analysis of how sociocultural and political positionalities of race and gender are projected and consumed. Leonard 2004 actualizes the arguments in Leonard 2003 by investigating the cultural attributes of virtual “blackness” in the sporting game industry, reinforcing the stereotypical ideas of hyper-masculinity of black sportsman. Mack 2001 supports the arguments of Leonard 2003 and Leonard 2004 that racism against African Americans still persists and instantiates through the digital divide of technology. Everett 2008 examines interactions between race and ethnicity on emerging digital and social media platforms. King 2013 discusses the technological imaginary of science fiction that shapes race and the body in the context of Argentine and Brazilian cultures. Chow-White 2008 and Chow-White 2009 theorize and empirically explore how a new regime of racial signification, the “informationalization of race,” was emerging from the use and meanings of new data mining technologies, computer codes, algorithms, and databases.

                                                              • Byrne, D. 2008. The future of (the) “race”: Identity, discourse, and the rise of computer-mediated public spheres. In Learning race and ethnicity: Youth and digital media. Edited by A. Everett, 15–38. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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                                                                Social media and online communicative platforms are an integral aspect of young people’s lives in the contemporary world, serving as a microcosm of their physical sociopolitical and other realities. Byrne studies the dynamics of relationship building and cultivation in cultural networks online, in an assessment of how dedicated spaces for racial minorities guide the negotiation of raced identities and experiences.

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                                                                • Chow-White, P. A. 2008. The informationalization of race: Communication technologies and the human genome in the digital age. International Journal of Communication 2:1168–1194.

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                                                                  Argues that digital information and data mining is a new type of racial formation that differs in important ways from race as biology and race as culture. Chow-White explains how information is the material for negotiating racial identity in a digital world. For critical race scholarship, this article identifies a new mode of racialization in the network society Chow-White calls the “informationalization of race.” For communication, this article describes and illustrates a novel theory of race and digital communication networks. This scholarship is also an example of an early critical communication approach to investigating big data that examines the implicit and tacit processes behind digital code.

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                                                                  • Chow-White, P. A. 2009. Data, code, and discourses of difference. Communication Theory 19.3: 219–246.

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                                                                    Chow-White explores the informationalization of race in digital culture and, specifically, in the biotechnology space. Genomics is an early example of big data that is developed in the context of the space of convergence between molecular biology and computing science. Like other big data projects, it is enabled by innovations in data mining and the Internet. The author empirically examines how actors in the genomics space use race talk to justify and explain how they use or do not use racial categories in their research.

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                                                                    • Everett, A. 2008. Learning, race and ethnicity: Youth and digital media. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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                                                                      Everett’s book focuses on the interplay between race and identity issues and the conceptualization of ethnicity in the new digital media sphere. In the context of the United States, with its recurring incidences of racial and ethnic tensions, this volume delves into how these issues are played out and discoursed on through new digital media channels.

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                                                                      • González, J. 2000. The appended subject: Race and identity as digital assemblage. In Race in cyberspace. Edited by B. Kolko, L. Nakamura, and G. Rodman, 27–50. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                        Gonzalez undertakes an interesting investigation into the simultaneously integral and marginal characteristic of race and identity as is defined and maintained in digital spaces. A connection is made between bodily assemblage of culture and ethnicity, and the mechanisms through which these are visualized and projected.

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                                                                        • King, E. 2013. Race and the digital body: From science fiction and digital technologies in Argentine and Brazilian culture. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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                                                                          Science fiction meets political and ideological realities in neoliberal Argentina and Brazil. Both countries have experienced a political shift from dictatorships to neoliberalism, and King spotlights the manner in which these realities are projected and experienced through technological imagery.

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                                                                          • Leonard, D. 2003. “Live in your world, play in Ours”: Race, video games, and consuming the other. SIMILE: Studies in Media & Information Literacy Education 3.4: 1–9.

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                                                                            Leonard presents another text on the deployment of white hegemonic ideals in the gaming industry through an analysis of how sociocultural and political positionalities of race and gender are projected and consumed.

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                                                                            • Leonard, D. 2004. High tech blackface: Race, sports video games and becoming the other. Intelligent Agent 4:1–5.

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                                                                              Leonard argues that the sporting game industry is an area where cultural attributes of “blackness” are exploited and displayed to the eager gaze and play of white gamers. This world of minstrelsy provides the creators and gamers a unique opportunity to put on their virtual blackface through the portrayal of the stereotype of a hyper-masculine image of a dexterous black sportsman.

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                                                                              • Mack, R. L. 2001. The digital divide: Standing at the intersection of race & technology. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.

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                                                                                Mack examines historical perspectives of the divide and the impacts historical phenomena such as slavery and different types of discrimination have had on different social and racialized groups. These contextual inequalities not only impact education and economic autonomy but are also major contributory factors to the technological gap. The divide against disadvantaged groups such as African Americans still persists and is heightened by their constrained access to the many benefits technology offers.

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                                                                                • Nakamura, L. 2002. Cybertypes: Race, ethnicity, and identity on the Internet. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                  Nakamura proved herself an elemental voice in the development of studies on the digital production and construction of race, ethnicity, and identity in an ostensibly raceless online world. She affirms that racialization does happen, driven by real world discourses and impositions.

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                                                                                  • Thomas, D. 2008. KPK, Inc: Race, nation, and emergent culture in online games. In Learning race and ethnicity: Youth and digital media. Edited by A. Everett, 15–38. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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                                                                                    The ubiquity and currency of the online game world cannot be understated. Connections and relationships are created in intricate ways across geographic borders and cultural lines. This work explores this phenomenon among Korean youth in their adoption of an online game from the United States. Thomas highlights the transcultural engagement involved through an apparent power play between the United States and the Korean youth.

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                                                                                    Digital Spaces and Technologies

                                                                                    The writings here show a particular interest in the digital production and construction of gender and hegemony in the age of ICTs. Best and Maier 2007 focuses on the relationship between gender, information technologies, and rural villages in order to capture the women-specific needs in the field. Cairncross 2001 explores the issue of the impacts of electronic communication technologies on our social, economic, and political fabric around the world. Chow-White 2012 broadens our understanding of a technologically mediated digital divide to convey a more socially constructed understanding of structure, usage, meaning, participation, and production of digital genomic databases in the context of gender and racial inequality. Cooke and Lehrer 1993 provides journalistic and vivid accounts from individuals who participate in virtual communities and balances their analysis with accompanying statistics. In the second half of the book, the authors shift from a utopian perspective of technological promise and tackle the many social, economic, infrastructural, and ethical challenges ahead. Mercier, et al. 2006 studies the perception of and attitudes toward scientists among students going back to the late 1950s. The researchers demonstrate that gender is deeply engrained in perceptions of technology and innovation. Faulkner 2000 elaborates complex techniques that see technology as socially constructed alongside gender. Drawing from gender studies, technology, and development, Kuriyan and Kitner 2009 addresses a gap in the literature that focuses on “understanding gendered relations and ICTs in the context of shared computing.” Rasmussen and Håpnes 1991 argues that the life of ideas in the culture of computer science is gendered through a close ethnographic perspective on the culture of hackers that seems to exclude the female population. Wajcman 2004 elaborates on a seminal project that is the feminist analysis of the relationship with technology, manifested in technofeminism. This section concludes with considerations about the global political economy of the web down to local instances of web uses. Warf and Grimes 1997 highlights in a collection of “cases” the potential for the Internet to facilitate counter-hegemonic discourse and political ends.

                                                                                    • Best, M. L., and S. G. Maier. 2007. Gender, culture and ICT use in rural South India. Gender Technology and Development 11.2: 137–155.

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                                                                                      This qualitative empirical study explores the relationships between gender, information technologies, and rural villages. The study develops an in-depth understanding of the historical developments of ICT infrastructures and links gender to these developments. The study found shared patterns among the participants, but it cannot identify a shared sense and widespread sense of gender empowerment.

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                                                                                      • Cairncross, F. 2001. Death of distance 2.0: How the communications revolution will change our lives. 2d ed. London: Texere.

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                                                                                        Cairncross discusses the conditions and factors that allow electronic communication to fundamentally alter the social, economic, and political fabric around the globe. Beyond the implied optimistic message, the author recognizes the very real materiality of a challenging digital divide but also offers views on ICTs that can bridge these rifts. While the nature of these examples seems anecdotal and technologically deterministic, this book is still a rather comprehensive work on the potential of communication technologies.

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                                                                                        • Chow-White, P. 2012. Genomic databases and an emerging digital divide in biotechnology. In Race after the Internet. Edited by L. Nakamura and P. Chow-White, 291–309. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                          Examines the ways in which communication technologies and databases have fundamentally transformed race as a biological category. Interrogates these changing ideas of race within the context of a growing informational landscape and discusses the implications for biomedical research and policing. Prying open the historic developments, Chow-White’s essay critically examines past “techno-utopian discourses” and infuses much-needed social elements into this discourse.

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                                                                                          • Cooke, K., and D. Lehrer. 1993. The Internet: The whole world is talking. The Nation 257:60–63.

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                                                                                            Cooke and Lehrer use the vignette of bulletins called “Zagreb Diary” to tell the powerful story of the “global mega-information stream called the Internet.” This essay reflects on the many ways in which the Internet breaks down barriers to create virtual communities “without walls” promoting civil liberties, such as freedom of speech. These critical reflections make this particular essay well rounded and provide plenty of anecdotes that represent larger trends within the “digital divide.”

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                                                                                            • Mercier, E. M., B. Barron, and K. M. O’Connor. 2006. Images of self and others as computer users: The role of gender and experience. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 22.5: 335–348.

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                                                                                              Mercier, Barron, and O’Connor report on two studies that examine middle-school students’ perception of technology use and gender. They use surveys, drawings, and follow-up interviews. The two discussed studies highlight that gender stereotypes are still shaping students’ perceptions of a male, glasses-wearing computer expert in what seems to be the “cultural stereotype of a socially awkward male” (p. 342). Articulates what evidence suggests that cultural stereotypes of computer users exist but also what other factors seem to frame these views.

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                                                                                              • Faulkner, W. 2000. The technology question in feminism: A view from feminist technology studies. In Women Studies International Forum 24.1: 79–95.

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                                                                                                Faulkner views the relationship between gender and technology as socially constructed. Drawing on engineering research, the article exemplifies how technology encodes gender in multiple ways. This essay discusses the coproduction of gender and technology encoded in the design, creation, symbolism, imagery, practice, and experience with technology. Using the constructivist framework, Faulkner suggests productive and yet critical approaches to lay out its vision for the democratization of technology.

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                                                                                                • Kuriyan, R., and K. R. Kitner. 2009. Constructing class boundaries: Gender, aspirations, and shared computing. Information Technologies & International Development 5.1: 17–29.

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                                                                                                  Kuriyan and Kitner explore the intersection of gender, class identities, and ICTs in India and Chile. India and Chile serve as contrasting ethnographic case studies in exploring the relationship between women and technology. Drawing from gender studies, technology, and development, the article addresses a gap in the literature that focuses on “understanding gendered relations and ICTs in the context of shared computing” (p. 27). They found that progressive gender identities and mobile class aspirations coalesce around the use of shared computing.

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                                                                                                  • Rasmussen, B., and T. Håpnes. 1991. Excluding women from the technologies of the future? Futures 23.10: 1107–1119.

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                                                                                                    Rasmussen and Hapnes focus on the male-dominated domain of hackers to examine how the diffusion of their ideas marginalize women. Using qualitative interviews, Rasmussen and Hapnes deconstruct the curriculum, imagery, and experience in the program through the female lens. The article concludes that the female population does not share the same values as the dominant groups. The article proposes that the female perspective of hackers and other student groups can be understood as “an active protest against machine fixation.”

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                                                                                                    • Wajcman, J. 2004. Technofeminism. Malden, MA: Polity Press.

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                                                                                                      Emphasizing the idea that technology is socially constructed and not gender neutral, Wajcman deconstructs techno-science using feminist analysis to expose the ways in which gender is encoded in technological artifacts, imagery, practice, and experience. The final chapter, the Feminist Technoscience manifesto, merges Wajcman’s theoretical and political frameworks to motivate practical and technical change.

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                                                                                                      • Warf, B., and J. Grimes. 1997. Counterhegemonic discourses and the Internet. Geographical Review 87.2: 259–274.

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                                                                                                        Warf and Grimes disrupt the techno-euphoria by shedding light on issues of power, knowledge, and control within these data infrastructures. This essay highlights in a collection of “cases” the potential for the Internet to facilitate counter-hegemonic discourse and political ends. The article posits the Internet to be neither intrinsically hegemonic nor counterhegemonic and argues for the inspirational “enlightenment notion of the human subject” (p. 270).

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                                                                                                        Contemporary Discourse: Social Media and Big Data

                                                                                                        A key investigation in this section focus on the power dynamics of data mining practices on our privacy and surveillance. The articles in this section also critically examine the impacts of digital technologies on the construction of race and labor. The thematic thrust of this section manifests how digital media reinforces the traditional ideologies of capitalist society.

                                                                                                        Power Dynamics of Data Mining and Surveillance: The Rise of Big Data

                                                                                                        This section explores the sociopolitical implications of data mining practices in studying consumer behaviors. Data mining promises to drastically improve our ability to extract knowledge from great volumes of data, discovering latent relationships, patterns, and insights to help individuals, organizations, and society improve decision-making. Turow 2006 presents a founding framework to study privacy and market research by melding communication scholarship with modern marketing by unearthing how companies collect data on consumer behavior. Andrejevic 2012 explores the complexity, issues, and challenges of modern data mining technologies to unveil different data-driven modes of exploitation in the digital era. The latter articles focus more on the issues of privacy and surveillance engendered by data mining technologies. Gandy 2012 proposes new paradigms for substantive equality and privacy, taking into account the role of aggregate digital data and social profiling. Chen 2014 aims to problematize the conditions of digital labor by examining the cultural conditions and inner workings of “informational capitalism.” Chun 2006 highlights how the seemingly paradoxical dichotomy of a free Internet coupled with total freedom/total control results from a contemporary movement of seeing political problems as technological ones. Gandy 2012 argues that the growth and expansion of social networking seem to have influenced users’ ideas about privacy and control. Ultimately, the author points out these developments in the context of advanced analytics have led to discrimination and cumulative disadvantage. Drawing upon Foucauldian scholarly work of panopticon, Green 1999 shows how the digital era is saturated with ways of mining and manipulating vast amounts of social data through different actors including smaller clusters of agentic users called “surveillance networks,” to avoid and alter the surveilling gaze. Lyon 1994 investigates the discursive moves from electronic and personal record systems to surveillance systems in order to decontextualize the relationship of the human and democracy in these surveillance systems. Milinovich, et al. 2014 reviews empirical studies about influenza and dengue, and argues how advanced online methods of tracking these diseases should not supplant but rather extend traditional health surveillance efforts. Bailey 2008 argues the expanding context of digital space requires new approaches to privacy to challenge inequality and strengthen democratic values.

                                                                                                        • Andrejevic, M. 2012. Exploitation in the data mine. In Internet and surveillance: The challenges of web 2.0 and social media. Edited by Christian Fuchs, 71–88. London: Routledge.

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                                                                                                          Andrejevic focuses on a contemporary “data-fuelled fantasy” and its non-regulated, rampant commercial surveillance, a condition he calls “the pathologies of social sorting.” Outlines the shifting contexts of cultures of labor and how different data-driven modes of exploitation influence the digital era. Touching on contemporary readings of Marx, Andrejevic maps out the shifting terrain of this new digital economy and symbolizes a call for more practical intervention, as well as the need for more critical scholarship.

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                                                                                                          • Bailey, J. 2008. Towards an equality-enhancing conception of privacy. Dalhousie Law Journal 31.2: 267.

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                                                                                                            Bailey illustrates that traditional individualistic conceptions of privacy helped perpetuate inequality and that prevailing paradigms need to be updated to fit the new conditions of a digital era. Bailey argues that modern privacy paradigms should bear on “social and collective values, as well as the interdependence between the individual and the collective in the process of identity formation” (p. 269). Her case for collectively based privacy arguments aim to strengthen “diversity, plurality, and mutual respect and tolerance” (p. 291) in modern digital societies.

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                                                                                                            • Chen, Y. 2014. Production cultures and differentiations of digital labour. TripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique 12.2.

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                                                                                                              Using approaches of Marx, the author highlights the increasingly complicated influence of culturization on the production process, as well as normative ideas of social behavior in the digital labor context. Chen’s essay describes the ways in which cultural discourses around big data, data labor, and consumption are closely tied to commercial interests to “construct the normative behaviours in the digital realms.” Chen convincingly describes the cultural conditions and inner workings of an “informational capitalism.”

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                                                                                                              • Chun, W. 2006. Control and freedom: Power and paranoia in the age of fiber optics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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                                                                                                                In this volume Chun explores the seemingly paradoxical dichotomy of a free Internet coupled with control. The book examines the shape and causes of this diametrical binary through explorations of the culture and technological infrastructure of the Internet. Through critical cultural studies, seemingly neutral technological artifacts such as fiber optics become traceable elements of surveillance that are outside of the user’s control.

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                                                                                                                • Gandy, O. 2012. Matrix multiplication and the digital divide. In Race after the Internet. Edited by L. Nakamura and P. Chow-White, 129–145. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                                                  Borrowing imagery from the popular movie The Matrix, Gandy problematizes approaches to understanding surveillance, much like the protagonist Neo grapples with understanding reality. Gandy discusses the ever-evolving nature of data mining and its close relationship to surveillance scholarship. Ultimately, Gandy argues that the growth and expansion of social networking seem to have influenced users’ ideas about privacy and control.

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                                                                                                                  • Green, S. 1999. A plague on the panopticon: Surveillance and power in the global information economy. Information, Communication & Society 2.1.

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                                                                                                                    Green problematizes the dominant metaphor of surveillance and hidden power (courtesy of Foucault and Bentham) by introducing “plague management.” The essay focuses on “modern urban surveillance” and locates the power in the community. Green’s arguments uncovers the ways in which consumption and the workplace have become an arenas for contesting agencies and control. Echoing the sentiment from scholars such as Warf and Grimes 1997, Green views the Internet as a space for hegemonic and counter-hegemonic surveillance.

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                                                                                                                    • Lyon, D. 1994. The electronic eye: The rise of surveillance society. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press.

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                                                                                                                      Lyon positions computerized record systems and electronic traces in sociological theory and links diverse electronic private and personal record systems discursively and intellectually to surveillance systems. By deconstructing individual cases of seemingly ordinary accounts, electronic records leave the field of bureaucratic administration and enter more complex theory of advanced industrial orders. Grappling with his own central questions around the role of the human and democracy in these surveillance systems, Lyon also revisits existing approaches to surveillance and tries to strike the balance between systematic and systemic aspects of surveillance.

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                                                                                                                      • Milinovich, G. J., G. M. Williams, A. C. A. Clements, and W. Hu. 2014. Internet-based surveillance systems for monitoring emerging infectious diseases. The Lancet Infectious Diseases 14.2: 160–168.

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                                                                                                                        Reviews empirical studies about Google Flu Trends and Social Media to better understand Internet-based novel solutions to detect, track, and report infectious diseases. Demonstrates the challenges of designing successful and precise approaches of impacting offline social behavior through online surveillance. Future surveillance systems will have to address the analytical challenge of interpreting textual information and its weak link to information-seeking behavior, otherwise phenomena such as the “Bieber fever” will trigger health alarms.

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                                                                                                                        • Turow, J. 2006. Niche envy: Marketing discrimination in the digital age. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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                                                                                                                          Melds communication scholarship with modern marketing by unearthing how companies collect data on consumer behavior. Turow shares his unnerving insights from trade press, industry conferences, and conversations with marketing officers. As a result, this book considers the various societal implications of the new database marketing and corporate interests in personal histories and interests using digital surveillance technology

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                                                                                                                          Segregated Digital Spaces and Labor

                                                                                                                          This section is concerned with the impacts of digital technologies on the social construction of race and digital labor. boyd 2012 highlights race and class division between Myspace and Facebook among American teens. She argues the virtual division between these two social media platforms represents actual race- and class-based social divisions in American society. Hargittai 2012 shares a similar argument with boyd 2012 that race and ethnicity play a role in the adoption of different SNS. Taken together, these two articles offer complimentary scholarship from ethnographic and quantitative perspectives. Nakamura 2009 focuses on the racialization of informational labor in massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMOs). Marez 2012 explores the technological imaginary of Star Wars on the race and class formations in California. Conor 2014 provides a critical examination of the audience commodity theory and suggests that contemporary analyses of audience commodity and digital prosumption need to take into account the question of value in relations to its abstract relationships and monetary measurements. Chan, et al. 2013 investigates the business relationship of Apple-Foxconn and the responses of workers to this outsourcing of labor for their cheaper labor, benefits, and rights. Fuchs 2016 applies Marxist concepts to examine how digital labor, enabled by the advancement of ICTs, represents a new form of capitalist innovation and exploitation. Huws 2014 examines the blurred boundaries between work and play and between production and consumption in the digital age has generated problematic economic structures of “free labor” to exploit and alienate labor relations of the workers. Terranova 2000 also advocates similar findings that the Internet does not offer an alternative approach to capitalist economy but reinforces the development of late postindustrial societies at large.

                                                                                                                          • boyd, d. 2012. White flight in networked publics: How race and class shaped American teen engagement with MySpace and Facebook. In Race after the Internet. Edited by L. Nakamura and P. Chow-White, 203–222. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                                                            Examines a division between Myspace and Facebook among American teens during 2006–2007 academic year. Argues that this virtual division between these two online social media platforms represents the race- and class-based social divisions of everyday life in American society. As such, the chapter rejects the techno-utopian belief that the Internet will eliminate social inequality and racial discriminations.

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                                                                                                                            • Chan, J., N. Pun, and M. Selden. 2013. The politics of global production: Apple, Foxconn and China’s new working class. New Technology, Work and Employment 28:100–115.

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                                                                                                                              Reflects on the power asymmetries in labor relations as a result of globalization in the network society. Chan and colleagues conducted in-depth qualitative interviews with stakeholders, including managers and workers at outside Foxconn factory complexes. The goal of this article is to help the young generation of China’s rural migrant workers define and defend their working conditions and human rights in the entangled networks of corporate interests and state power.

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                                                                                                                              • Conor, E. 2014. Value, the audience commodity, and digital prosumption: A plea for precision. In The audience commodity in a digital age: Revisiting a critical theory of commercial media. Edited by L. McGuigan and V. Manzerolle, 245–265. New York: Peter Lang.

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                                                                                                                                Offers a critique of the audience commodity theory on how values being created in digital technologies are fundamentally different than those in previous decades and centuries. Comor also challenges the overly economistic applications of audience commodity on digital prosumption. The essay suggests that contemporary analyses of audience commodity and digital prosumption need to take into account the question of value in relations to its abstract relationships and monetary measurements.

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                                                                                                                                • Fuchs, C. 2016. Digital labor and imperialism. Monthly Review 67.8: 14–24.

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                                                                                                                                  Drawing upon classical Marxist concepts, the article examines the role of international division of labor in the age of information communication technologies (ICTs). Using the examples of outsourcing production models of Apple, the article brings to light a form of technological fetishism that reinforces the working-class struggles and capitalist ideologies within the digital and informational realms.

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                                                                                                                                  • Hargittai, E. 2012. Open doors, closed spaces? Differentiated adoption of social network sites by user background. In Race After the Internet. Edited by L. Nakamura and P. Chow-White, 223–245. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                                                                    Conducted a comparative analysis between social networking sites (SNS) users and non-users to explore how users’ demographic characteristics, most particularly race and ethnicity, play a role in the adoption of different SNS. The study suggests that racial, ethnic, and other socioeconomic backgrounds contribute to the users’ social networks. This article is consistent with the findings from boyd’s article (2012) that online communities reflects and mirrors people’s background characteristics, reinforcing the social inequality or digital inequality.

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                                                                                                                                    • Huws, U. 2014. The underpinnings of class in the digital age: Living, labour and value. Socialist Register 50:80–107.

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                                                                                                                                      Drawing upon Marxist ideology, this article examines the values of “virtual” or “digital” labor. The rise of the Internet in the digital age increasingly blurred the line between work and play and between production and consumption. These blurred boundaries generated problematic economic structures of “free labor” that exploit and alienate labor relations among the workers. The paper tackles this issue by applying Marxist theory to define commodity, production, material and immaterial, and labor relations of the global working class with their production processes in this digital economy.

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                                                                                                                                      • Marez, C. 2012. Cesar Chavez, the United Farm Workers, and the history of Star Wars. In Race after the Internet. Edited by L. Nakamura and P. Nakamura. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                                                                        Explores sociocultural impacts of Star Wars on the race and class formations in California. Marez situates Star Wars as the historical struggle between agribusiness and farm workers in California and thereby provides an analysis on the race and class subjectivities entailed in Star Wars. In what follows the article manifests the political significance of Star Wars in elucidating the capitalist ideologies of white populism that give rise to right-wing politicians in California and the world, including Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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                                                                                                                                        • Nakamura, L. 2009. Don’t hate the player, hate the game: The racialization of labor in World of Warcraft. Critical Studies in Media Communication 26.2: 128–144.

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                                                                                                                                          Explores the racialization of informational labor in massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMOs). MMOs represent synthetic worlds embedded with racial discourses, media texts, and interpersonal conflicts. Asian worker-players face racial discrimination and economic restraints as they are considered the dispossessed subjects of the synthetic worlds. Hence, in the world of MMOs, Asian cultures are deemed to be inferior and alienated from the beauty and desirability of shared virtual space in the World of Warcraft.

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                                                                                                                                          • Terranova, T. 2000. Free labor: Producing culture for the digital economy. Social Text 18.2 63: 33–58.

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                                                                                                                                            Examines the “free labor” in the late capitalist cultural economy. Terranova makes a connection between the “digital economy” and “social factory” to argue that the Internet is embedded with cultural and technical labor. This digital labor generates a continuous production of value that is central to the flows of network society and digital economy. The article brings to light how the underlying mechanism of the Internet does not offer an alternative approach to capitalist economy. Instead, the Internet is deeply entangled with the development of late postindustrial societies at large.

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                                                                                                                                            Future Directions

                                                                                                                                            This section presents both the opportunities, applications, and challenges of ICTs in all facets of human lives. The first subsection critically examines the benefits, challenges, and implications of open data. The second subsection provides an understanding of the practical implications of the digital inclusion and exclusion. The section concludes by delving into the use of social and digital media in political campaigns.

                                                                                                                                            Universal Open Source Software?

                                                                                                                                            This section focuses on the opportunities and challenges of open data. Gurstein 2011 takes on a critical examination of open data practices in order to implement “effect data use” and generate positive impact on the poor and marginalized. Janssen, et al. 2012 is a qualitative study using interviews and focus groups to identify the benefits and barriers to the diffusion of open data. Kitchin 2014 shares a similar concern by investigating the challenges of open data initiatives including the lack of sustainable financial modes, utility, and usability as well as the empowerment of neoliberalization and marketization of public services. Spreeuwenberg and Poell 2012 studies the political economy of the mobile Internet by examining the rationale and implications behind the strategies of Google in developing Android as its main mobile operating system and open source practices, while ignoring others. Mukerjee 2016 focuses more on the technocracy democratization by studying how the #SavetheInternet movement in India fought Facebook initiatives in order to protect net neutrality.

                                                                                                                                            • Gurstein, M. 2011. Open data: Empowering the empowered or effective data use for everyone?. First Monday 16.2.

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                                                                                                                                              Presents critical perspectives to analyze “open data” and how to implement “effective data use” in order to yield positive impact on poor and marginalized groups. Presents a seven-element model for effective data use including: (1) Internet, (2) computers and software, (3) computer/software skills, (4) content and formatting, (5) interpretation/sense making, (6) advocacy, and (7) governance.

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                                                                                                                                              • Janssen, M., Y. Charalabidis, and A. Zuiderwijk. 2012. Benefits, adoption barriers and myths of open data and open government. Information Systems Management 29.4: 258–268.

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                                                                                                                                                Presents the benefits and barriers to the adoption of open data. Conducted an in-depth interview with fourteen participants and a group session with nine participants in order to understand their experiences with open data. The article also identifies five myths that reflect the gap between promises and barriers of open data. The article concludes by proposing recommendations to advance the diffusion of open data.

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                                                                                                                                                • Kitchin, R. 2014. The data revolution: Big data, open data, data infrastructures and their consequences. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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                                                                                                                                                  While open data offers the benefits of transparency and accountability regarding public bodies and services (as well as other opportunities to promote public participation and foster economic innovation) there are many negative consequences of open data initiatives that have been overlooked by researchers. This article provides four critiques of open data initiatives including (1) lack of a sustainable financial model, (2) empowering the dominant groups, (3) lack of utility and usability, and (4) facilitating the neoliberalization and marketization of public services.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Mukerjee, S. 2016. Net neutrality, Facebook, and India’s battle to #SaveTheInternet. Communication and the Public 1.3: 356–361.

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                                                                                                                                                    Examines how Facebook’s mission to bring low cost and subsidized access of Internet services to developing countries in Asia violated net neutrality. The subsequent #SavetheInternet movement in India countered Facebook initiatives in order to protect net neutrality. This movement exemplifies a critical online platform for effective democratic and quasi-democratic processes.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Spreeuwenberg, K., and T. Poell. 2012. Android and the political economy of the mobile Internet: A renewal of open source critique. First Monday 17.7.

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                                                                                                                                                      This paper explores the strategies of Google in developing Android as its main mobile operating system and open source practices, while ignoring others. The article argues that these practices of Google aim to develop and control a vast mobile Internet ecology. These corporate strategies of Google significantly impact the rapid expansion of mobile Internet and produce entangled networks of technical, legal, political-economic, and cultural consequences.

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                                                                                                                                                      Cost of Digital Inclusion and Exclusion

                                                                                                                                                      This section is concerned with the practical implications of the digital inclusion and exclusion. Bartlett 2016 delves into an investigation of the underworlds or dark corners of the Internet where anomalous and controversial sites including child pornography, racial supremacists, and so on operate, rendering the deep impacts of the Internet on the social, cultural, historical, and economic fabrics of lives. Breindl 2010 studies the debate around the democratic potential of the Internet by using information, discussion, and mobilization as criteria. Duster 2012 provides a critical examination of the complex intersection between genomics, race, and forensics to address a racial discrimination toward African Americans and Latinos in the use of DNA evidence in crime scenes and legal systems. Graham 2010 studies the actual impacts of ICTs in low-income economies by looking into the Thai silk industry. Graham, et al. 2014 elaborates on Graham’s previous approach in Graham 2010 to examine the uneven patterns of user-generated content on the Internet by studying Wikipedia and concludes that the lack of content on/from certain parts of the world reflect a world systems theory at large. Hampton, et al. 2009 seeks to determine how technology and other factors impact the size and diversity of people’s social networks. Warf 2001 underlies the geopolitics of the Internet and the limitations of its purported democratic nature. Wilson and Costanza-Chock 2012 examines the racial exclusion in the media transition from old to new media networks.

                                                                                                                                                      • Bartlett, J. 2016. The dark net: Inside the digital underworld. New York: Melville House.

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                                                                                                                                                        This book examines the underworlds or dark corners of the Internet where it operates for anomalous and controversial sites including child pornography, racial supremacists, suicide forums, and campgirls. The book also explores the role of identity in a setting where there is no limit for your imagination and the impact of these virtual, uncensored, and unregulated underworlds on the real world. Provides a crucial understanding on how the dark corners of the Internet impact our lives from social, cultural, historical, and economic perspectives.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Breindl, Y. 2010. Critique of the democratic potentials of the Internet: A review of current theory and practice. TripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique 8.1: 43–59.

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                                                                                                                                                          A good review of the debate surrounding the democratic potential of the Internet. Breindl uses information, discussion, and mobilization as criteria and points out how the empowering potential of the Internet also presents enormous challenges.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Duster, T. 2012. The combustible intersection: Genomics, forensics, and race. In Race after the Internet. Edited by L. Nakamura and P. Chow-White, 310–327. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                                                                                            Examines the complex intersection between genomics, race, and forensics to address racial discrimination toward African Americans and Latinos in the use of DNA evidence in crime scenes and legal systems. Duster confronts the ideological and technical mechanisms of DNA technologies that overrepresent African Americans and Latinos in their DNA databases. This in turn puts these marginalized groups under increased surveillance. This article also provides future directions for social science research into this kind of racial discrimination found in the digital surveillance net.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Graham, M. 2010. Justifying virtual presence in the Thai silk industry: Links between data and discourse. Information Technologies and International Development 6.4: 57–70.

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                                                                                                                                                              Although the positive impact of ICTs in low-income economies can hardly be disputed, it is sometimes unclear who the real beneficiaries are. In the context of the Thai silk industry, this article uses content analysis, surveys, and key informant interviews to achieve the two main objectives: (1) deduce the perceived benefits of the use of the Internet to sell their products from the point of view of the sellers and (2) decipher the actual benefits.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Graham, M., B. Hogan, R. K. Straumann, and A. Medhat. 2014. Uneven geographies of user-generated information: Patterns of increasing informational poverty. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 104.4: 746–764.

                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1080/00045608.2014.910087Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                This paper looks at the uneven patterns of user-generated knowledge in cyberspace. Using Wikipedia as a “case study,” Graham and colleagues argue that the lack of content on/from certain parts of the world, reflective of the world systems theory, is attributed to larger systemic or structural determinants. Further, Internet connectivity is only a part of the broader solution to including other parts of the world.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Hampton, K. N., L. F. Sessions, E. J. Her, and L. Rainie. 2009. Social isolation and new technology. Pew Internet and American Life Project. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center.

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                                                                                                                                                                  The advent of mobile phones and the Internet has profoundly changed social networks. Previous research suggested that with the advent of technology, Americans are more isolated than before. This report sought to determine how technology and other factors impact the size and diversity of people’s social networks. The report finds that Americans are not isolated and that technology is associated with more diverse and larger social networks.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Warf, B. 2001. Segueways into cyberspace: Multiple geographies of the digital divide. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 28.1: 3–19.

                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1068/b2691Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                    Warf discusses the geopolitics of the Internet and the limitations of its purported democratic nature. He asserts that the Internet’s power over geography may be exaggerated. Inequities in access are identified both internationally and within the United States. Warf concludes that the Internet reflects or reinforces existing social structures of wealth and power.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Wilson, E. J., III, and S. Costanza-Chock. 2012. New voices on the net? The digital journalism divide and the costs of network exclusion. In Race After the Internet. Edited by L. Nakamura and P. Chow-White, 246–268. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                                                                                                      This essay explores the digital divides from the perspectives of the costs of digital inclusion and exclusion. The essay examines the cumulative disadvantage of exclusion from old to new media networks. While people of color have more opportunities for online news ownership and journalism, the disparities in the mainstream of print and television media still persist online. This signifies a reproduction of racial inequality of representation in ownership and journalists as a cost of network exclusion.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Wired versus Unwired Politicians/the Uncertainty of Digital Divide

                                                                                                                                                                      This section invites us to understand the impacts of social and digital media for political campaigns and purposes. Carter 2010 advocates participatory processes using modern technological tools to bridge the digital divide between industrialized nations and non-industrialized ones. Everett 2012 studies the media representation of Barack Obama during his presidency to understand how modern social media tools gave rise to Obama’s popularity and political success. Lee and Lim 2016 shares a similar research objective with Everett 2012 by studying the impacts of social media in prudential campaigns between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Kruikemeier 2014 explores the way modern communication tools such as Twitter continue to revolutionize communication. Maney 2016 presents the two divisions Bits America and Atoms America, which represent the two ideological differences in the US political landscape. McCabe 2015 elaborates on the use of social media in political campaigns by exploring how the candidates utilized social media platforms to reach their audience, to contend with political opponents, and to invite people into their private lives to show images that would win them political favor. Nam and Sayogo 2012 provides a critical examination into democratic patterns of participation in public political dialogue in the digital sphere.

                                                                                                                                                                      • Carter, M. 2010. Technology as democracy: Bridging the digital divide. Guardian, 18 June.

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                                                                                                                                                                        This article discusses how modern technological tools are helping to bridge the digital divide between industrialized nations and non-industrialized ones. It accentuates reigning support for participatory processes by projecting community engagement as an important element in the journey toward closing the digital divide.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Everett, A. 2012. “Have we become postracial yet?” Race and media technologies in the age of President Obama. In Race after the Internet. Edited by L. Nakamura and P. Chow-White, 146–167. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                                                                                                          This chapter positions the media representation of Barack Obama during his presidency within the broader narrative about perceptions of black men. Everett’s central argument is for a closer look at equality in cyberspace. She argues that the same modern social media tools that gave Obama the needed popularity and propelled him to the Oval Office is also responsible for the dip in his popularity during his tenure.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Kruikemeier, S. 2014. How political candidates use Twitter and the impact on votes. Computers in Human Behavior 34:131–139.

                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2014.01.025Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                            This article draws attention to the way modern communication tools such as Twitter continue to revolutionize communication. The study was conducted during an electioneering campaign and it shows how tweets can alter the political landscape, undermining the influence and hitherto perceived legitimacy of traditional media.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Lee, J., and Y. Lim. 2016. Gendered campaign tweets: The cases of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Public Relations Review 42.5: 849–855.

                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1016/j.pubrev.2016.07.004Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                              Social media drove the 2016 US elections. Lee and Lim use content analysis to examine the gendered perspective of the tweets and websites of candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Consistent with theory, they found fundamental differences in their communication style that reflects their gender traits.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Maney, Kevin. 2016. Trump revolution rooted in resentment of technology. Newsweek, 9 May.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Maney’s news article presents an interesting perspective on the two ideological differences in the US political landscape. The writer calls the two divisions Bits America and Atoms America. According to his analysis, Bits America, thanks to technological advancement, represents the high tech industry (people) that has robbed Atoms America of their jobs through automation. In simple terms, Bits make digital products, and Atoms make physical things.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • McCabe, D. 2015. Welcome to the social media election. The Hill, 17 August.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Social media was an integral part of the 2016 US elections. It was not just an information source, it also offered a space for active and direct interaction compared to traditional media. This article recounts how the candidates utilized social media platforms to reach their audience, to contend with political opponents, and to invite people into their private lives to show the images that would win them political favor.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Nam, T., and D. S. Sayogo. 2012. Online political participation in the 2008 U.S. presidential election: Examining the democratic divide. In Active citizen participation in e-government: A global perspective. Edited by A. Manoharan, and M. Holzer, 85–108. Boca Raton, FL: Information Science Reference.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    The United States’ 2008 presidential elections introduced a prime model for the examination of democratic patterns of participation in public political dialogue in the digital sphere. Sayogo matches the social and other determinants of the digital divide with issues of political inequality to determine how they played out in the 2008 political climate.

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