Volume 68, Issue 6 p. 1539-1550
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Political engagement and ICTs: Internet use in marginalized communities

David Nemer

David Nemer

School of Information Science, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, 40506

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Michail Tsikerdekis

Michail Tsikerdekis

Computer Science Department, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA, 98225

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First published: 28 April 2017
Citations: 12

Abstract

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) provide a distinctive structure of opportunities with the potential to promote political engagement. However, concerns remain over unequal technological access in our society, as political resources available on the internet empower those with the resources and motivation to take advantage of them, leaving those who are disengaged farther behind. Hence, those who face digital inequalities are not only deprived of the benefits of the so-called Information Society, they are also deprived of exercising their civic rights. To promote political engagement among the marginalized, we analyze different sociotechnical factors that may play a role in promoting their inclusion in future political activities. We employed a survey for marginalized communities to analyze a set of research questions relating to sociotechnical factors. We show that online content creation, digital freedom, and access to the mobile Internet may positively impact political engagement. The development of these factors may not only promote the inclusion of marginalized populations in future political events, but also help to build a more equal society where everyone's voice has a chance to be heard.