Social capital and the three levels of digital divide

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This chapter proposes a nuanced perspective which investigates the potential new applications of social capital in the context of digital divide and explores how social and digital capitals are interrelated. It focuses on the reciprocal influences existing between social capital and digital divide. The chapter shows how digital capital is a distinctive form of capital, but intertwined with other types of capital (e.g. economic, social, cultural). It explores the differences and similarities outlined by three key authors (Putman, Coleman and Bourdieu) in analysing the relationship between social and digital capital. The chapter explains the multidimensionality of social capital by analysing the main traditional approaches to social capital and how they can be applied to the study of social and digital inequalities. It focuses on the evolution from digital divide to digital inequalities and on how digital capital may influence social and digital inequalities. The chapter discusses five macro-areas through which one may observe the interrelationships between social and digital capital.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTheorizing Digital Divides
EditorsMassimo Ragnedda, Glenn Muschert
Place of PublicationAbingdon
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781315455334
ISBN (Print)9781138210400
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2017

Publication series

NameRoutledge Advances in Sociology
PublisherTaylor Francis


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