Is Digital Equality Possible? (“The Digital Divide” by J. van Dijk)

Is Digital Equality Possible? (“The Digital Divide” by J. van Dijk)

Dobrinskaya D.E.

Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Assoc. Prof., Department of Modern Sociology, Faculty of Sociology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia.

Martynenko T.S.

Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Senior Lecturer, Department of Modern Sociology, Faculty of Sociology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia.

ID of the Article:

The survey received financial support from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project No. 18-011-01106 “New modes of social inequality and its peculiarities at the case of contemporary Russia”.

For citation:

Dobrinskaya D.E., Martynenko T.S. Is Digital Equality Possible? (“The Digital Divide” by J. van Dijk). Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2020. No 10. P. 158-164


The article is about new book by Jan van Dijk, one of the pioneers in the study of digital divide. The authors analyze key theoretical statements of the theory of the digital divide, comparing it with the early works of van Dijk devoted to this topic. It also examines the most controversial issues in the study of the digital divide in sociology. Technological changes are transforming the digital divide from a simple division between those who have and those who do not have access to the Internet to a difference in outcomes for ownership and use of digital technologies. This evolution has led to emergence of digital divide at three levels. The model of the digital divide proposed in the study is based on the principles of relational approach. It is complex and multidimensional in nature, thus, according to the author, making it possible to assess the condition of the digital divide at all its levels. Van Dijk asks about the prospects for solving this crucial issue and whether there is a correlation between current state of the digital divide and other inequalities. Most of the research is focused on these questions, the findings of which are far from optimistic.

social inequality; digitalization; internet; digital divide; digital inequality; access; digital skills; J. van Dijk


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Content No 10, 2020