Segueways into cyberspace: multiple geographies of the digital divide
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.
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