Impact: Why Digital Skills Are the Key to the Information Society

  • Jan A. G. M. van Dijk
  • Alexander J. A. M. van Deursen
Part of the Palgrave Macmillan’s Digital Education and Learning book series (DEAL)


In this book, we attempt to draw a broad social picture of the backgrounds and consequences of the digital skills as defined in the previous chapter while we have mainly focused on Internet skills. Although skills are often linked to training or education, we take a more social-scientific or sociological approach. We will show that solutions beyond those of an educational nature should be sought in addressing the problem of a lack of digital skills.


Social Capital Social Inequality Digital Technology Digital Medium Digital Divide 
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Further Reading

  1. Van Dijk, J. A. G. M. (2005). The deepening divide, inequality in the information society. London; Thousand Oaks, CA; New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. This book unfolds the Resources Appropriation Theory that backs this chapter and the digital divide in general.Google Scholar
  3. Tilly, C. (1998). Durable inequality. Berkeley, CA; Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  4. A general theory of social inequality that argues that inequality is durable or reinforced in relations of power between people, especially in networks. Inequality is considered a relational characteristic between opposed category pairs such as management and employees, not an individual attribute of people such as poor or rich.Google Scholar
  5. Warschauer, M. (2003). Technology and social inclusion: Rethinking the digital divide. Cambridge, MA; London: The MIT Press. Also departs from a resources basis for the digital divide and digital skills. Focussed predominantly on the situation of the developing countries.Google Scholar
  6. Witte, J. C., & Mannon, S. E. (2010). The Internet and social inequalities. New York; London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Explains the digital divide and digital skills in several sociological perspectives (conflict, cultural, and functionalist). Provides American data.Google Scholar
  8. Helsper, E. J. (2012). A corresponding fields model of digital inclusion. Communication Theory, 22, 403–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. This article proposes a theoretical model that hypothesizes how specific areas of digital and social exclusion influence each other. In this corresponding fields model, it is argued that they relate mostly for similar (economic, cultural, social, personal) fields of resources.Google Scholar
  10. Van Deursen, A. J. A. M., & Van Dijk, J. A. G. M. (2014a). The digital divide shifts to differences in usage. New Media & Society, 16(3), 507–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. An article that reports participation data and the thesis of the usage gap.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Jan A. G. M. van Dijk and Alexander J. A. M. van Deursen 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan A. G. M. van Dijk
  • Alexander J. A. M. van Deursen

There are no affiliations available

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