Trapped in the Digital Divide: The Distributive Paradigm in Community Informatics

Virginia E. Eubanks

Abstract


This paper argues that over-reliance on a “distributive paradigm” in community informatics practice has restricted the scope of the high tech equity agenda. Drawing on five years of participatory action research with low-income women in upstate New York, I explore the ways in which distributive understandings of technology and inequality obscure the day-to-day interactions these women have with ICT and overlook their justified critical ambivalence towards technology. Finally, I offer unique insights and powerful strategies of resistance suggested by my research collaborators in a drawing exercise intended to elicit alternative articulations of digital equity. If we begin from their points of view, the problems and solutions that can and should be entertained in our scholarship and practice look quite different.

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The Journal of Community Informatics. ISSN: 1712-4441