Rethinking the digital divide

Weizhen Lei, Martin R. Gibbs, Shanton Chang, Heejin Lee

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In discussing and planning interventions around the "digital divide" people tend to think in terms of the binary oppositions of "digital-haves" and "digital-have-nots". Information and communications technologies (ICT) programs sponsored by governments and other agencies to address the "digital divide" also tend to be "topdown" initiatives that focus on the provision of institutional aid and the development of infrastructure. Within these approaches ICT have-nots tend to be treated as the passive receivers of aid. The agency of digital-havenots in gaining access to ICT has been rarely examined. In this paper we report on a study that has shown that ICT use patterns amongst those with poor access and utilization of ICT is diverse and complex. Results from a survey of 495 rural-urban migrants in Beijing show that self-initiated digital transition exists among this group of people. The transition from digital-have-not to digital-have is not a one-step process but rather an incremental process with multiple stages and multiple pathways. Findings from this study will provide helpful insights for policy makers and related stakeholders when discussing and planning ICT programs and activities designed to address the issues associated with the digital divide.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Event19th Australasian Conference on Information Systems, ACIS 2008 - Christchurch, New Zealand
Duration: 2008 Dec 32008 Dec 5


Other19th Australasian Conference on Information Systems, ACIS 2008
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems


Dive into the research topics of 'Rethinking the digital divide'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this