Apart from technology: understanding people's non-use of information and communication technologies in everyday life

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Despite the high-profile nature of the current 'digital divide' debate, academic understanding of who is making little or no use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) remains weak. Indeed much of the discussion surrounding the digital divide has concentrated on the characteristics of those individuals who are using ICTs or, at best, simply pathologised the 'have nots' in terms of individual deficits. Yet developing a systematic and objective understanding of individuals' non-use of new technologies constitutes a major challenge for those seeking to map and understand the social realities of the 'information age'. The present paper, therefore, aims to develop a deeper conceptual understanding of people's non-use of new technologies: firstly, by considering established discourses of why individuals may be excluded or peripheral to ICT use; and then, via a critique of these positions, proposing an alternative framework of why people may not use ICT in their day-to-day lives based around individuals' 'reading' of technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-116
Number of pages18
JournalTechnology in Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Agency
  • Choice
  • Digital device
  • Information and communications technology
  • Non-use
  • Resistance

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