Jen Schradie at ASA 2019

08 Aug, 2019

Jen Schradie at ASA 2019

Alum Jen Schradie presents at the American Sociological Association's 2019 annual conference on "Engaging Social Justice for a Better World." Her panel, Social Theory and Social Data, will explore the practical relationship between theory and data, with a focus on the challenges and opportunities facing social theory in an era often characterized by the scale, scope, and social character of data.

Jen is presenting "The Great Equalizer Reproduces Inequality: How the Digital Divide is a Class Power Divide"

​From her abstract:

Despite the pendulum swing from utopian to dystopian views of the internet, the direction of the popular and academic literature continues to lean toward its liberatory potential, particularly as a tool for redressing social inequality. At the same time, decades of digital inequality scholarship have shown persistent socioeconomic inequality in internet access and use. Yet most of this research captures class by individualized income and education variables, rather than a power relational framework. By tracing research on how fear, control and risk manifest itself with inequalities related to digital content, digital activism, and digital work, this theoretical article shows that such a narrow approach misses both the cause and effect of digital inequality. Instead, a class-analysis based on power relations is a broader and more precise theoretical lens to understand the digital divide. As a result, technology can reinforce, or even exacerbate, existing patterns of social and economic inequality because of this power differential.

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