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THE DIGITAL PRODUCTION GAP IN GREAT BRITAIN

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In the iCS article, ‘Who Creates Content?’ (April 2013), Blank contends that digital production inequality depends on the type of online content in question. Using 2010 survey data from the UK, he uses a principle component analysis to cluster content activities into three types and conducts a logistic regression analysis with an eye toward social class. He finds some levels of inequality but also finds parity with two of his content categories. These findings differ from a substantial body of literature from the United States. Rather than explaining these differences between Britain and the United States with substantive and theoretical reasons, Blank attempts to find fault with the methodology of this existing literature. In this comment, the author shows how Blank's analysis does not reveal as much digital production equality as he claims it does because of his misinterpretation of causal paths of inequality, as well as problems with his operationalization of online content, which conflates Internet activities and online content. In the process, the author explains why Blank's resulting critiques are misguided. Finally, to explain better his unique findings and to help advance the field of digital inequality, the author suggests discrepancies between Grant's findings and previous research may be attributable to differing study populations: Internet users versus the general population; the age differences of respondents; the timing of the studies; and between-country variations. At stake in this debate is the reproduction of social class stratification with digital technology and content creation.
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Keywords: class; digital divide; digital inequality; digital production gap; social media; stratification

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Sociology, UC Berkeley, 410 Barrows Hall Berkeley, CA, 94720–1980, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2013

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