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ERIC Number: ED571243
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 461
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-3397-2591-8
An Unequal Information Society: How Information Access Initiatives Contribute to the Construction of Inequality
Sanfilippo, Madelyn Rose
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University
Unequal access to information has significant social and political consequences, and is itself a consequence of sociotechnical systems born of social, cultural, economic, and institutional context. Information is unequally distributed both within and between communities. While many factors that shape information inequality shift subtly over time, due to historical distributions and path dependent natures, intentional changes to sociotechnical systems and infrastructural support for ICTs are often developed through access initiatives prescribed in policies. Furthermore, these policies also often seek to address issues of access in other ways, such as through information and digital literacy campaigns. As a result, evaluation of the policies that define access initiatives provide a useful mechanism to understand outcomes of efforts to increase access and how context impacts implementation and use in such ways as to produce unequal outcomes. This dissertation examines what policy strategies, particularly as relate to ICTs and digital infrastructure, lead to unequal outcomes in access initiatives, using a comparative design to examine differences in outcomes from the Information Society initiative across the European Union. Specifically, hypotheses generated through qualitative content analysis of policy documents, with attention on contextual differences across nations and in implementation strategies, are presented within the context of comparative analysis. Differences in strategies across and within nations were then analyzed quantitatively to identify what leads to differences in outcomes, herein as access to information status and variance in information inequality, allowing for evaluation of hypotheses. Civic and political consequences of unequal access were also examined quantitatively, providing empirical analysis of assumptions made about access and the implications of initiatives. In exploring policy-based initiatives designed to create and modify sociotechnical systems, so as to benefit from increased access and development of the information society, adopting a social informatics perspective provides distinct practical, conceptual, and methodological benefits. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: European Union
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A