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Segueways into cyberspace: multiple geographies of the digital divide


  • Barney Warf


Despite stereotypes that cyberspace spells the 'end of geography' and promises universal, democratic entree to the electronic highways of the world economy, access to the Internet is highly unevenly distributed both socially and spatially. In this paper I examine the geopolitics of Internet access and its implications. I open by situating electronic communications within contemporary social theory, emphasizing cyberspace as a contested terrain of competing discourses. Second, international discrepancies in access are illustrated, dramatizing the ways in which the Internet enhances the advantages enjoyed by a global elite consisting largely of white, male professionals. Third, I turn to discrepancies in Internet access within the United States, including class, racial, gender, and spatial disparities. I seek to demonstrate that geography still matters; the Internet creates and reflects a distinct spatial structure interlaced with, and often reinforcing, existing relations of wealth and power.

Suggested Citation

  • Barney Warf, 2001. "Segueways into cyberspace: multiple geographies of the digital divide," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 28(1), pages 3-19, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envirb:v:28:y:2001:i:1:p:3-19

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    Cited by:

    1. D'Ignazio, A. & Giovannetti, E., 2006. "Spatial Dispersion of Peering Clusters in the European Internet," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0601, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    2. repec:eee:soceps:v:58:y:2017:i:c:p:3-12 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. BEN YOUSSEF, Adel & METHAMEM, Raouchen & M'HENNI, Hatem, 2009. "Disparités régionales et diffusion des TIC en Tunisie
      [Regional disparities and ICTs diffusion in Tunisia]
      ," MPRA Paper 17938, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2009.
    4. Pick, James B. & Nishida, Tetsushi, 2015. "Digital divides in the world and its regions: A spatial and multivariate analysis of technological utilization," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 1-17.
    5. Shakuntala Banaji, 2016. "Global research on children’s online experiences: addressing diversities and inequalities," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 71264, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Richard Perkins & Eric Neumayer, 2011. "Is the internet really new after all?: the determinants of telecommunications diffusion in historical perspective," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 30800, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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