Digital Divides

Wednesday the 17th of May 2023 

15:00 (Paris)

One key problem for the development and use of digital tools to enhance democratic participation is that not everyone has equal access to such tools, and not everyone is equally skilled to use them. While the young, educated, and rich may have no trouble downloading and using a new voting app, this may be a genuine struggle for other groups in society. The digital divide is well-documented, and has been shown to reflect and even worsen other socio-economic inequalities. In this meeting we will discuss questions about the very possibility of digital democracy in light of the digital divide.

Professor of Communication Science
(University of Twente

Jan A.G.M. van Dijk has has done social scientific research on social aspects of ICT and the digital divide since the mid 1980s, and (co)authored books such as The Network Society (1999, 2006, 2012), Digital Democracy (2000), and The Deepening divide, Inequality in the Information Society (2005). In his presentation he will briefly reflect on the history of the subject, and explain his theory of digital inequality and their relation to social inequalities in broad terms.

Policy Officer on Digital Inclusion
(Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, The Netherlands

Eva de Valk has worked as a journalist at Sillicon Valley and coordinated the Technology section of NRC Handelsblad, with a specific focus on ethical and political issues related to AI and technological innovations. In her presentation, she will outline what the Dutch government is currently doing to mitigate the digital divide, and what still needs to be done both in terms of concrete policy actions and research.