With a little help from my friends: An analysis of the role of social support in digital inequalities

Courtois, C. and Verdegem, P. 2016. With a little help from my friends: An analysis of the role of social support in digital inequalities. New Media & Society. 18 (8), pp. 1508-1527. doi:10.1177/1461444814562162

TitleWith a little help from my friends: An analysis of the role of social support in digital inequalities
AuthorsCourtois, C. and Verdegem, P.
Abstract

This article reports an empirical study on the composition and socio-economic background of social support networks and their moderating role in explaining digital inequalities. It conceptually draws upon and empirically reaffirms Van Dijk’s multiple access model, acknowledging motivational, material, skill and usage divides, while focussing on the under-researched issue of social support as indispensible source of social learning. Besides a small group of self-reliants, the results indicate a pattern of relatively socially disadvantaged domestic support receivers, characterized by lower digital resources. A second social support pattern points to a relatively socially advantaged non-domestic support receivers (i.e. friends/colleagues), high in digital resources. Drawing upon the concept of homophily in social networks, the results indicate a link between offline and online exclusion, perpetuating digital inequalities.

KeywordsDigital inequalities, multiple access model, social support
JournalNew Media & Society
Journal citation18 (8), pp. 1508-1527
ISSN1461-4448
Year2016
PublisherSage
Accepted author manuscriptFinal draft.pdf
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1177/1461444814562162
Publication dates
Published online09 Sep 2014
Published09 Sep 2014

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