Visiting lecturer talk: Ellen Helsper on urban, digital inequality

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Visiting scholar Ellen Helsper will be giving a talk October 12th, 2017, in ASC 225. 

Talk description: Digital inequalities theories focus on structural and individual factors to explain the links between social and digital inequalities. Research suggests the existence of vicious cycles where those who are better off in a traditional sense are able to take up the opportunities that ICTs offer to a greater extent than those with fewer resources. However, recent research finds ‘unexpectedly excluded and included’ individuals. One potential explanation for why those with socio-economic resources, access to technologies and skills do not use the internet (i.e. the unexpectedly excluded), could be the characteristics of the place in which they live. That is, social and cultural community factors are likely to shape a person’s socio-digital inclusion in addition to individual skill and digital infrastructure. Local area level comparisons over time are not only more time and cost effective than individual nationally representative panel surveys, they also allow us to examine causal changes over time and analyse counterfactual case studies. This can shed light on whether social or technological change is the best way forward to increase socio-digital inclusion. Helsper will examine the potential insights a mapping approach might bring at the local level in London, LA and Sao Paulo for a better understanding of these phenomena.