Skip to main content Accessibility help

Beyond Virtual Inclusion – Communications Inclusion and Digital Divisions

  • Stephen Sinclair (a1) and Glen Bramley (a1)


Access to and engagement with information and communications technologies (ICTs) are increasingly important aspects of social inclusion. This paper draws upon analyses of UK survey data and a review of research on communications and social exclusion published in the UK between 2001 and 2006 to examine the social distribution of access to and uptake of ICTs and to explore key factors restricting the digital engagement of young people from lower income households and communities. It argues that effective strategies to bridge digital divisions in the UK must pay more attention to the social rather than technological barriers which inhibit communications inclusion.



Hide All
Avery, V., Chamberlain, E., Summerfield, C. and Zealey, L. (eds.) (2007), Focus on the Digital Age, Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan/Office of Public Sector Information.
Barry, B. (1998), Social Exclusion, Social Isolation and the Distribution of Income, CASEpaper 12, London: LSE.
Bartley, M. (2006), Capability and Resilience: Beating the Odds, London: UCL Dept of Epidemiology and Public Health/ESRC.
Becker, H. (2000), ‘Who's wired and who's not: children's use of computer technology: the future of children’, Children and Technology, 10, 2, 4475.
BECTA (2005), A Good Start: Using ICT to Enable Social Inclusion in Primary Schools, Coventry: British Educational Communications and Technology Agency.
BECTA (2009), The Impact of Digital Technology: A Review of the Evidence of the Impact of Digital Technologies on Formal Education, Coventry: British Educational Communications and Technology Agency.
Calvert, K. (2007), ‘Community planning: double vision’, New Start, 13 April, 16.
Cameron, A. (2005), ‘Geographies of welfare and exclusion: initial report’, Progress in Human Geography, 29, 2, 194203.
Citizens Online/National Centre for Social Research (2008), Digital Exclusion Profiling of Vulnerable Groups: Young People not in Education, Employment or Training – a Profile, London: Department for Communities and Local Government.
Condie, R. and Munro, B. (2007), The Impact of ICT in Schools: A Landscape Review, Coventry: British Educational Communications and Technology Agency.
Cringely, R. X. (1996), Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can't Get a Date, London: Penguin.
Department for Education and Skills (2005), Fulfulling the Potential: Transforming Teaching and Learning Through ICT in Schools, London: Department for Education and Skills.
Department of Communities and Local Government (2008a), Delivering Digital Inclusion: An Action Plan for Consultation, London: Department of Communities and Local Government.
Department of Communities and Local Government (2008b), Communities in Control: Real People, Real Power, London: Department of Communities and Local Government.
Department of Trade and Industry (2005), Connecting the UK: The Digital Strategy, London: Department of Trade and Industry/Cabinet Office.
Digital Inclusion Panel (2004), Enabling a Digitally United Kingdom: A Framework for Action, London: Cabinet Office.
Dutton, W., Helsper, E. and Gerber, M. (2009), The Internet in Britain in 2009, Oxford: Oxford Internet Institute.
Empirica, and Work Research Centre (2006), Thematic Study to Analyse Policy Measures to Promote Access to Information Technologies as a Means of Combating Social Exclusion, Brussels: European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.
Facer, K. and Furlong, R. (2001), ‘Beyond the myth of the “cyberkid”: young people at the margins of the information revolution’, Journal of Youth Studies, 4, 4, 451–69.
Facer, K., Sutherland, R., Furlong, R. and Furlong, J. (2001), ‘What's the point of using computers? The development of young people's computer expertise in the home’, New Media Society, 3, 2, 199219.
Financial Inclusion Taskforce (2010), Mainstreaming Financial Inclusion: Managing Money and Access to Banking, London: HM Treasury.
Foley, P. (2004), ‘Does the internet help to overcome social exclusion?’, Electronic Journal of e-Government, 2, 2, 139–45.
Fox, K. (2001), Evolution, Alienation and Gossip: The Role of Mobile Telecommunications in the 21st Century, Oxford: Social Issues Research Centre.
Furlong, J., Furlong, R., Facer, K. and Sutherland, R. (2000), ‘The National Grid for learning: a curriculum without walls?’, Cambridge Journal of Education, 30, 1, 91111.
Future Foundation (2004), The Digital Divide in 2025, London: British Telecom.
Gochenour, P. H. (2006), ‘Distributed communities and nodal subjects’, New Media & Society, 8, 1, 3351.
Griggs, J., Whitworth, A., Walker, R., McLennan, D. and Noble, M. (2008), Person or Place-Based Policies to Tackle Disadvantage? Not Knowing What Works, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Hall, Aitken (2003), Evaluation of CMF Funded UK Online Centres, final report, Glasgow: Hall Aitken.
Hudson, J. (2006), ‘Inequality and the knowledge economy: running to stand still?’, Social Policy and Society, 5, 2, 207–22.
Levitas, R. (1996), ‘The concept of social exclusion and the new Durkheimian hegemony’, Critical Social Policy, 16, 46, 520.
Livingstone, S. and Bober, M. (2004), ‘Taking up online opportunities? Children's uses of the internet for education, communication and participation’, E-Learning and Digital Media, 1, 3, 395419.
Livingstone, S. and Bober, M. (2005), UK Children Go Online: A Final Report of Key Project Findings, London: London School of Economics Economic and Social Research Council.
Loader, B. D. and Keeble, L. (2004), Challenging the Digital Divide? A Literature Review of Community Informatics Initiatives, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Ofcom (2009a), ‘Media literacy tracker 2009, wave 1 tables – children and parents’, (accessed 19 April 2010).
Ofcom (2009b), ‘Ofcom technology tracker Q1, 2009’, (accessed 19 April 2010).
ONS (Office for National Statistics) (2009), ‘Internet access households and individuals 2009’, Statistical Bulletin, (accessed 19 April 2010).
Page, R. (2006), Respect and Renewal: A Study of Neighbourhood Social Regeneration, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Schmitt, J. and Wadsworth, J. (2004), Is There an Impact of Household Computer Ownership on Children's Educational Attainment in Britain? Discussion Paper No. 625, London: Centre for Economic Performance.
Scottish Executive (2006), Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2006: General Report, Edinburgh: Scottish Executive.
Scottish Government (2009), Scottish Household Survey: Annual Report 2007–08, web tables, (accessed 19 April 2010).
Selwyn, N. (2002), ‘“E-stablishing” an inclusive society? Technology, social exclusion and UK government policy making’, Journal of Social Policy, 31, 1, 120.
Selwyn, N. (2004), ‘Reconsidering political and popular understandings of the digital divide’, New Media & Society, 6, 3, 341–62.
Sinclair, S., Bramley, G., Dobbie, L. and Gillespie, M. (2007), Social Inclusion and Communications: A Review of the Literature, London: Ofcom Consumer Panel.
Thompson, M. and Crush, D. (2005), Inclusion through Innovation: Tackling Social Exclusion through New Technologies – Qualitative Research Report, London: Social Exclusion Unit, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
Townsend, P. (1976), Sociology and Social Policy, Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Vaitilingam, R. and Woolgar, S. (2000), ‘@Ccess for all won't close the digital divide’, The Edge, 3, 1213.
Van Winden, W. (2001), ‘The end of social exclusion? On information technology policy as a key to social inclusion in large European cities’, Regional Studies, 35, 9, 861–77.
Wakefield, J. (2005), ‘Reaching out to digital refuseniks’, BBC News Online, 19 June, (accessed 19 September 2008).
Warschauer, M. (2004), Technology and Social Inclusion: Rethinking the Digital Divide, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Webb, S. (2006), ‘Can ICT reduce social exclusion? The case of an adults’ English language learning programme’, British Educational Research Journal, 32, 3, 481507.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Beyond Virtual Inclusion – Communications Inclusion and Digital Divisions

  • Stephen Sinclair (a1) and Glen Bramley (a1)


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.