جدا از تکنولوژی: درک عدم استفاده مردم از فناوری اطلاعات و ارتباطات در زندگی روزمره
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|16416||2003||18 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Technology in Society, Volume 25, Issue 1, January 2003, Pages 99–116
Despite the high-profile nature of the current ‘digital divide’ debate, academic understanding of who is making little or no use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) remains weak. Indeed much of the discussion surrounding the digital divide has concentrated on the characteristics of those individuals who are using ICTs or, at best, simply pathologised the ‘have nots’ in terms of individual deficits. Yet developing a systematic and objective understanding of individuals’ non-use of new technologies constitutes a major challenge for those seeking to map and understand the social realities of the ‘information age’. The present paper, therefore, aims to develop a deeper conceptual understanding of people’s non-use of new technologies: firstly, by considering established discourses of why individuals may be excluded or peripheral to ICT use; and then, via a critique of these positions, proposing an alternative framework of why people may not use ICT in their day-to-day lives based around individuals’ ‘reading’ of technology.
The ability to use information and communications technology (ICT) is now assumed by most commentators to be a prerequisite to living and working in the ‘information society’. Received wisdom has it that ICT is transforming all aspects of society—from education to civic involvement, employment to leisure. As the UK government has been prone to proclaim, using information technology is nothing less than “the indispensable grammar of modern life” . This civic and societal imperative has given rise to prevailing political efforts within (over)developed countries to ensure that every citizen has a basic level of ‘universal access’ to information technologies and that disparities are reduced between those segments of society which are making use of ICT and those segments which are not. Indeed, there has been a burgeoning body of academic research over the past 10 years pointing towards the growing emergence of an ‘information apartheid’  and a ‘digital divide’ ; popularly seen as occurring between technological ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’  or the ‘information rich’ and ‘information poor’ [5–7]. This contemporary recasting of the notion of a ‘knowledge gap’ fuelled by mass media  has prompted governments around the world to implement multi-billion dollar initiatives to counter these new inequalities of the ‘information age’. Yet, whilst the notion of the ‘digital divide’ has proved a “usefully alliterative slogan whose pan-political ambiguity lends rhetorical capital to whomever chooses it” , it remains a conceptually weak basis for researchers striving to develop a deep understanding of technology and society. As Webster  reasons: to distinguish between the ‘information rich’ and ‘information poor’ both avoids precise delineation of who these are and fails to consider the range of different positions ... In short the model lacks sufficient sociological sophistication. In particular, academic understanding of who is making less (or even no) use of information technologies remains weak. This paper therefore starts from an emerging consensus within the sociology of technology [11–13] that conceptualising non-users of technology as purely those who ‘have not’ any access to any technology is too crude an analysis. Recent developments in public and community provision of ICTs means that all but the most peripheral members of a society will have theoretical access to some forms of technology . Yet, whilst the formal provision of ICT facilities in community sites such as colleges, libraries and museums means that all individuals living locally have potential physical access to new technologies, such ‘access’ is meaningless unless people actually feel able to make use of such opportunities. The logic of this argument can be seen in the increasing numbers of public payphones in UK towns and cities that have been recently converted to offer e-mail facilities alongside conventional telephony. Despite this formal provision it would be a nonsense to claim that every individual living in and around these towns now has effective and meaningful access to e-mail or, indeed, equitable access to e-mail when compared to individuals who use e-mail from their home or place of work. It is therefore important to acknowledge the importance of an individual’s ‘perceived’ (or effective) access in practice over the theoretical (or formal) access to ICT . Any realistic notion of ‘access’ to ICT must therefore first be defined from the individual’s perspective. Moreover, as Toulouse  observes, there are distinct types of access to technology; whether people have access at all and the hierarchy of access amongst those that do. Kanter’s  broader view of an informational divide between ‘cosmopolitans’ and ‘localists’ reinforces this scenario, arguing that the ‘three Cs’ of competence, concepts and connections will underpin an ability to thrive in the global economy—with a relatively excluded class of localists curtailed by their embeddedness at fixed sites, “connections limited to a small circle in the neighbourhood and opportunities confined to their own communities” . This theme has most recently been extended by Murdock  who argues for the identification of three groups of ‘core’, ‘peripheral’ and ‘excluded’ users (see Table 1). Although these examples could still be argued to be overly simplistic, they do provide a useful starting point in framing the areas of interest for the current paper. Thus in recognising the hierarchical nature of ICT access and use as well as the importance of context and outcome of use we should identify both ‘peripheral’ and totally ‘excluded’ users as being ‘apart from technology’ and therefore worthy of further consideration. Much of the debate surrounding the digital divide has concentrated on the characteristics of those individuals who are using ICTs or, as we shall discuss below, simply pathologised the ‘have nots’ in terms of individual deficits. Yet as has been recognised by previous authors, developing a systematic and objective understanding of individuals’ non-use of information technology constitutes a major challenge for those seeking to map and understand the social realities of the ‘information age’: A systematic understanding of the dynamics of digital participation is not presently available. This is due to the immaturity of research on access questions and to the inadequacy of frameworks for measuring these dynamics . Who are the people that resist a particular technology or new technology in general; how do they differ from other social groups; how large is this group, and where are they located within the structures of society? . As yet, these questions have remained on the periphery of academic work on technology and society. Despite the endless futurology, pundit supposition and market research forecasting that surrounds information and communications technology we still know little about the patterns of non-uptake and non-use of new technologies. Are non-users, as is widely assumed, falling into existing and deep-rooted patterns of social and economic inequalities? What are the individual motivations and consequences of not using ICT in our supposed information society? With these questions in mind the present paper aims to develop a deeper conceptual understanding of people’s non-use of new technologies: firstly, by considering established discourses of why individuals may be excluded or peripheral to ICT use; and then proposing an alternative framework of why different groups of people do not use ICT in their day-to-day lives.