Special Issue "Inequality in the Digital Environment"

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A special issue of Future Internet (ISSN 1999-5903).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 March 2013)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Roderick Graham

Department of Sociology, Rhode Island College, 600 Mount Pleasant Avenue, Providence, RI 02903, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: social stratification; race and ethnicity; new media technologies; Internet studies
Guest Editor
Dr. Kyungsub S. Choi

Department of Computer Information Systems, School of Management, Rhode Island College, Providence, RI 02908-1991, USA
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +1 401-456-8759
Interests: social media; mobile technologies; social computing; group differences
Guest Editor
Dr. P. Khalil Saucier

Department of Sociology, Rhode Island College, Providence, RI, USA
E-Mail
Interests: critical race theory; cultural studies and black political theory
Guest Editor
Dr. Danielle Taana Smith

Department of Sociology, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, USA
E-Mail
Interests: global violence; race and ethnicity; healthcare

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This special issue of Future Internet is dedicated to exploring inequalities between groups in the digital environment.  The “digital environment” here refers to the interconnected online environment, which includes all devices that allow users to go online (mobile phones, desktop computers, tablet computers, some household appliances).  Inequality here refers to disparities in material access and quality of usage between groups.  Papers should explore inequalities in the digital environment between economic classes, racial groups, communities, and other types of social groups and categories.

Some potential topics include inequalities in:

  • Material access to the Internet
  • Civic and political participation in the online environment
  • Digital literacy
  • Social capital
  • Telecommunications infrastructure between and within nations
  • Social support
  • Diversity of usage (With respect to both hardware and software)

Much research has been done on the technological and economic aspects of the inequality online, but relatively less has been done on inequalities in content production.  Thus, special interest will be given to papers that explore inequalities in:

  • Representative content (web content that reflects the culture or interests of the audience)
  • Framing of news stories or events
  • The production of racial and ethnic stereotypes

Dr. Roderick Graham
Dr. Kyungsub Choi
Dr. P. Khalil Saucier
Dr. Danielle Taana Smith
Guest Editors


For further questions/inquiries, please contact Dr. Roderick Graham : rgraham@ric.edu

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Future Internet is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 500 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


Keywords

  • digital divide
  • digital inequality
  • social stratification

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Introduction to the Special Issue on Inequality in the Digital Environment
Future Internet 2013, 5(4), 580-584; doi:10.3390/fi5040580
Received: 9 November 2013 / Revised: 19 November 2013 / Accepted: 19 November 2013 / Published: 26 November 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (150 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purpose of this special issue is to explore social inequalities in the digital environment. The motivation for this issue is derived from the disproportionate focus on technological and economic aspects of the Information Society to the detriment of sociological and cultural aspects.
[...] Read more.
The purpose of this special issue is to explore social inequalities in the digital environment. The motivation for this issue is derived from the disproportionate focus on technological and economic aspects of the Information Society to the detriment of sociological and cultural aspects. The research presented here falls along three dimensions of inequality. Two papers explore the ways that race orders interaction online. A second pair of papers explores the experiences of technology users with physical and mental disabilities. A final paper looks at gender, and the higher rates of intimate partner violence experienced by women online. Taken as a whole, these five papers highlight some of the ways that the digital environment can reproduce or mitigate inequalities that have been molded and routinized in the physical environment. [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inequality in the Digital Environment)

Research

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Open AccessArticle Virtual Relationship Violence and Perspectives on Punishment: Do Gender or Nationality Matter?
Future Internet 2013, 5(3), 301-316; doi:10.3390/fi5030301
Received: 11 March 2013 / Revised: 17 May 2013 / Accepted: 6 June 2013 / Published: 26 June 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (246 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Given the increasingly popular use of socially interactive technology (SIT), it is believed that the way in which individuals communicate and experience relationships has drastically been changing. For those who partake in this electronic world, damaging behaviors akin to those found in the
[...] Read more.
Given the increasingly popular use of socially interactive technology (SIT), it is believed that the way in which individuals communicate and experience relationships has drastically been changing. For those who partake in this electronic world, damaging behaviors akin to those found in the real world have emerged. Yet, we know little about the extent of these behaviors in the context of romantic relationships, especially from a gender or cultural standpoint. Research on dating violence generally indicates that women experience in-person victimization at higher rates than men, although some research has called this into question. It also suggests that some national groups experience higher rates of violence than others. However, research is almost non-existent when it comes to exploring violence in the digital world. This study investigated gender and nationality in (1) the nature and extent of socially interactive intimate violence, and (2) perceptions of the seriousness of virtual relationship violence. Using a sample of students from the United States and Poland, findings revealed that socially interactive technology may serve as a new avenue for aggressing against partners, as virtual relationship violence was not uncommon and reflected some patterns present in the real world. Some unexpected patterns also emerged. The results of this research signal a possible transferability of covert intimate violence and highlight ways in which inequalities may exist in our virtual worlds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inequality in the Digital Environment)
Open AccessArticle Racial Exclusion in the Online World
Future Internet 2013, 5(2), 251-267; doi:10.3390/fi5020251
Received: 11 March 2013 / Accepted: 7 May 2013 / Published: 24 May 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (204 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As the internet has become an integral part of everyday life, it is understood that patterns of racial stereotyping and discrimination found in the offline world are often reproduced online. In our paper, we examine two exclusionary practices in an online environment for
[...] Read more.
As the internet has become an integral part of everyday life, it is understood that patterns of racial stereotyping and discrimination found in the offline world are often reproduced online. In our paper, we examine two exclusionary practices in an online environment for adult toy collectors: First, the exclusion of non-white individuals who are expected to form immediate friendships with other non-white members; and second, the essentializing of racial issues when concerns over the lack of racial diversity in the toys are discussed. This dismissal is often directly connected to non-white members’ decisions to no longer participate, resulting in a new form of segregation within virtual space. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inequality in the Digital Environment)
Open AccessArticle Digital Differentiation in Young People’s Internet Use—Eliminating or Reproducing Disability Stereotypes
Future Internet 2013, 5(2), 190-204; doi:10.3390/fi5020190
Received: 12 March 2013 / Revised: 8 April 2013 / Accepted: 15 April 2013 / Published: 7 May 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (194 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Norwegian authorities’ policy aims at securing an information society for all, emphasizing the importance of accessible and usable Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for everyone. While the body of research on young people’s use of ICT is quite comprehensive, research addressing digital differentiation
[...] Read more.
Norwegian authorities’ policy aims at securing an information society for all, emphasizing the importance of accessible and usable Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for everyone. While the body of research on young people’s use of ICT is quite comprehensive, research addressing digital differentiation in young people with disabilities’ use of ICT is still in its early days. This article investigates how young people with disabilities’ use, or non-use, of assistive ICT creates digital differentiations. The investigation elaborates on how the anticipations and stereotypes of disability establish an authoritative definition of assistive ICT, and the consequence this creates for the use of the Web by young people with disabilities. The object of the article is to provide enhanced insight into the field of technology and disability by illuminating how assistive ICT sometimes eliminates and sometimes reproduces stereotypes and digital differentiations. The investigation draws on a qualitative interview study with 23 young Norwegians with disabilities, aged 15–20 years. I draw on a theoretical perspective to analyze the findings of the study, which employs the concept of identity multiplicity. The article’s closing discussion expands on technology’s significance in young people’s negotiations of impairment and of perceptions of disability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inequality in the Digital Environment)
Open AccessArticle African Americans and Network Disadvantage: Enhancing Social Capital through Participation on Social Networking Sites
Future Internet 2013, 5(1), 56-66; doi:10.3390/fi5010056
Received: 16 January 2013 / Revised: 24 February 2013 / Accepted: 28 February 2013 / Published: 6 March 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (178 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study examines the participation of African Americans on social networking sites (SNS), and evaluates the degree to which African Americans engage in activities in the online environment to mitigate social capital deficits. Prior literature suggests that compared with whites, African Americans have
[...] Read more.
This study examines the participation of African Americans on social networking sites (SNS), and evaluates the degree to which African Americans engage in activities in the online environment to mitigate social capital deficits. Prior literature suggests that compared with whites, African Americans have less social capital that can enhance their socio-economic mobility. As such, my research question is: do African Americans enhance their social capital through their participation on SNS? I use nationally representative data collected from the Pew Internet and American Life Project to explore the research question. The results suggest that the online environment is potentially a space in which African Americans can lessen social capital deficits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inequality in the Digital Environment)

Review

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Open AccessReview Internet Access by People with Intellectual Disabilities: Inequalities and Opportunities
Future Internet 2013, 5(3), 376-397; doi:10.3390/fi5030376
Received: 15 March 2013 / Revised: 11 May 2013 / Accepted: 19 June 2013 / Published: 17 July 2013
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (234 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This review gives an overview of the societal inequalities faced by people with intellectual disabilities, before focusing specifically on challenges people face accessing the Internet. Current access will be outlined along with the societal, support and attitudinal factors that can hinder access. Discussion
[...] Read more.
This review gives an overview of the societal inequalities faced by people with intellectual disabilities, before focusing specifically on challenges people face accessing the Internet. Current access will be outlined along with the societal, support and attitudinal factors that can hinder access. Discussion of carer views of Internet use by people with intellectual disabilities will be covered incorporating consideration of the tension between protection, self-determination and lifestyle issues and gaining Internet access. We will address how impairment related factors may impede access and subsequently discuss how supports may be used to obfuscate impairments and facilitate access. We will move on from this to critically describe some of the potential benefits the Internet could provide to people with intellectual disabilities, including the potential for self-expression, advocacy and developing friendships. Finally, strategies to better include people with intellectual disabilities online will be given along with future research suggestions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inequality in the Digital Environment)

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