“Never good enough.” A situated understanding of the impact of digitalization on citizens living in a low socioeconomic position
Auteurs: Nicole Goedhart, Pertra Verdonk en Christine Dedding
Digital inequality is a critical issue in our knowledge economy. Often digital inequality is framed as a problem that only older people encounter. This rather stereotypical portrayal can result in improvised and unsuccessful policy actions. The goal of the article is to take the experiences of citizens who never or seldom use information and communication technology as a point of departure to show the impact and outcomes of digitalization on the lives of people with a low socioeconomic position (LSEP) and across different intersections, such as gender, poverty, ethnicity, and age. The results of this qualitative study emphasize that not being able to use the Internet negatively impacts feelings of belonging and self-confidence. Citizens need to invest continually in new or different equipment and in skills to keep up. Opportunities to invest are shaped at the nexus of gender, class, educational level, and occupational status. Therefore, simply training people in particular digital skills is insufficient. We show that the complexity of digital inequality and its interrelatedness with social inequalities along lines of class, age, gender, and ethnicity demand that policy and practices address digital inequality across the entire scope.