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Space and virtuality: new characteristics of inequalities in the information society and economy

Listed author(s):
  • Akos Jakobi


    (Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary)

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    Recently it is becoming increasingly important to understand the role of information and communication technology factors in shaping social and economic differences. Theoretical as well as practical experiences of analyses confirmed that spatial processes of the diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICTs) largely influenced the economy and society of the 21st century. In the last couple of decades ICT became an integral part of our everyday life, with lots of effects on social and economic processes, but we may experience other motives of inequalities today as they were in the past, or we may at least find some new characteristics of inequalities in addition to the existing ones. Basically inequalities are appearing between social groups in dimensions of accessing information. In the background as reasons we could name qualification, age, gender, income and many other factors of differences, and last but not least geography as an important motive. Therefore the first aim of this paper is to emphasize among the complex factors of inequalities the increasing and altering role of space in information age disparities, when speaking about digital access possibilities of different regions and locations. On the other hand, since infrastructure development policies have recognized the necessity of ICT development, an increasing number of people have become able to access the new information channels, resulting that accessibility could now be treated as a background problem. In contrast with accessibility differences, recently a new type of disparity emerges: the differences between users in the quality of usage. This secondary disparity takes place in the virtual world. Therefore the second aim of this paper is to reveal what new elements of inequalities are present in virtual space in connection with usage differences, and how it changed traditional spatial disparities. By analyzing data of Hungarian examples, this paper attempts to make a distinction between first and second order spatial inequalities.

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    Article provided by Pro Global Science Association in its journal Published in Review of Applied Socio-Economic Research.

    Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 1 (June)
    Pages: 4-14

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    Handle: RePEc:rse:wpaper:v:5:y:2013:i:1:p:4-14
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    1. Oecd, 2001. "Understanding the Digital Divide," OECD Digital Economy Papers 49, OECD Publishing.
    2. Kiiski, Sampsa & Pohjola, Matti, 2002. "Cross-country diffusion of the Internet," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 297-310, June.
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