Slovenians Offline: Class and Cultural Aspects of Digital Exclusion
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This article seeks to identify who in Slovenia remains digitally offline and how such a status relates to socio-demographic factors (e.g. gender, age and education), class and cultural capital. The author assumes that the absence of new technology should be addressed in relation to existing patterns of cultural consumption and media preferences, and she attempts to understand the problem of digital exclusion within the context of other types of structural inequalities. Since digital technology is understood not just as a technical tool but as a social phenomenon directly related to everyday practices, the individual’s class position and cultural capital, digital exclusion is not viewed simply as a narrow problem of access. Instead of looking at the binary gap between technology haves and have-nots, the author takes the multilevel structure of digital access into account. The findings of a quantitative survey involving a representative sample of 820 residents in the two biggest Slovenian cities—Ljubljana and Maribor—show that, first, three types of digital exclusion exist: digitally unmotivated with high cultural capital; overall excluded with weak cultural capital; and digitally self-excluded with moderate cultural capital. Second, the study suggests that all three digital exclusion groups are, more than by class, divided by cultural engagement and media taste, which provides important possibilities for future research.
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