A blank screen? : digital divide discourses and practices Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/qz20sw32g

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  • The existence of a “digital divide,” or inequalities of access to digital technologies among different American subpopulations, has been hotly debated and contested since the National Telecommunications and Information Administration first popularized the phrase in 1995. The purpose of this thesis is to critically examine the dominant discourses around the digital divide and articulate the existence of counterdiscourses to highlight the complexities of access to digital technologies and the implications of their various uses by African American college students at Oregon State University. After implementing a multidisciplinary approach incorporating interpretive analysis and ideas from cyberculture studies, using qualitative methods gleaned from cultural anthropology, a more multidimensional picture of the “digital divide” emerged. Early individual experiences with digital technologies, age, and location appeared to have a deeper impact on the students’ relationships with digital technologies, challenging the dominant discourse’s focus on race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status as primary determinants of an individual’s lack of access due to their membership in a “disadvantaged population.”
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