Digital Divide

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The phenomenal global diffusion of digital technology, whose rate surpassed the spread of any other technology in human history, has resulted in staggering global gaps in access to, and use of, this newest of social resources. These gaps, which mark the uneven distribution of information and communication technology (ICT) both internationally and intranationally worldwide, came to be known as the “global digital divide.” Internationally, digital divides differentiated between developed and developing nations, setting them on diverging trajectories of social development and global integration. In addition, digital divides differentiated among groups within countries, setting further apart rich from poor, educated from illiterate, and residents of urban areas from rural residents. The confluence of such international and intranational digital divides exacerbates social inequalities and thus has done little to offset the great advances in economic prosperity and integration and the great spread of information that ICT enable. With that, the global digital divide is widening over time, dampening hopes that ICT will serve as a liberation technology to advance democracy and as a leapfrogging technology to advance social development.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization
EditorsGeorge Ritzer
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons Ltd.
ISBN (Electronic)978047067059
ISBN (Print)9781405188241
StatePublished - 2012


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