Although discussion of the digital divide is a relatively new phenomenon, social inequality is a deeply entrenched part of our current social world and is now reproduced in the digital sphere. Such inequalities have been described in multiple traditions of social thought and theoretical approaches. To move forward to a greater understanding of the nuanced dynamics of digital inequality, we need the theoretical lenses to interpret the meaning of what has been observed as digital inequality.

This volume examines and explains the phenomenon of digital divides and digital inequalities from a theoretical perspective. Indeed, with there being a limited amount of theoretical research on the digital divide so far, Theorizing Digital Divides seeks to collect and analyse different perspectives and theoretical approaches in analysing digital inequalities, and thus propose a nuanced approach to study the digital divide.

Exploring theories from diverse perspectives within the social sciences whilst presenting clear examples of how each theory is applied in digital divide research, this book will appeal to scholars and undergraduate and postgraduate students interested in sociology of inequality, digital culture, Internet studies, mass communication, social theory, sociology, and media studies.

chapter |8 pages


ByMassimo Ragnedda, and Glenn Muschert

section |52 pages

Using classical social theories to understand digital divide

chapter |10 pages

The sociology of Simmel and digital divides

Information, value, exchange, and sociation in the networked environment
ByGlenn W. Muschert, and Ryan Gunderson

chapter |14 pages

Social capital and the three levels of digital divide

ByMassimo Ragnedda, and Maria Laura Ruiu

chapter |13 pages

Do data analysts fill the role of the psychoanalyst?

The contemporary digital divide and Freud’s theory
ByTomohisa Hirata

chapter |13 pages

The interpretive and ideal-type approach

Rethinking digital non-use(s) in a Weberian perspective
ByBarbara Barbosa Neves, and Geoffrey Mead

section |70 pages

Associative and communicative perspectives

chapter |12 pages

Disability and digital inequalities

Rethinking digital divides with disability theory
ByGerard Goggin

chapter |13 pages

“The language metaphor”

An epistemological approach to the digital divide
ByLorenzo Dalvit

chapter |14 pages

Critical infrastructures, critical geographies

Towards a spatial theory of the digital divide
ByJohn Haffner

chapter |14 pages

A “recognitional perspective” on the twenty-first century’s digital divide

ByEva Klinkisch, and Anne Suphan

section |76 pages

Critical and alternative perspectives

chapter |13 pages

Rethinking the information society

A decolonial and border gnosis of the digital divide in Africa and the Global South
ByLast Moyo

chapter |11 pages

Digital divide in Turkey as a non-western country

ByDuygu Özsoy

chapter |16 pages

This question of the Other presence

Theorizing online representation and the voice of the digital subaltern
ByCitt Williams, Tania Gupta, and Marilyn Wallace

chapter |13 pages

The digital divide and classifications

The inscription of citizens into the state
ByMorten Hjelholt, and Jannick Schou

chapter |13 pages

Gendered cyberhate

A new digital divide?
ByEmma Jane

chapter |8 pages


The state of digital divide theory
ByJan van Dijk