Social inclusion and the shifting role of technology: is age the new gender in mobile access?

Carl Adams*, Tineke Fitch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Information and communication technologies (ICT) are at the heart of government social inclusion policy. However, the "digital divide" remains and social inclusion and technology are closely linked: Not having access to technology is often seen both as part of the inclusion/exclusion problem and part of the solution by enabling access to information resources through different channels. Yet, we argue that by using technology to address an inclusion/exclusion problem, it will also result in moving the problem from one area to another. The arguments in this paper have been informed by two empirical studies around a ubiquitous technology, the mobile phone. One study is primarily based on the 18 to 25 year old age groups; the other mostly on retired people. The studies show clear differences between age groups and gender in adoption and use of the mobile telephone. Social inclusion is multifaceted; it is not an either/or measure and many attributes are subjective and depend on context. Social inclusion for mobile access is also closely linked to deeply embedded structures within society, such as those traditionally associated with gender. Technology may be changing these structures; indeed, age may be the new gender. The family or social unit may also be a useful entity to consider in the exclusion debate. Technology is being used to address social exclusion; however, we suggest that while some leveling may result, there may also be different social exclusion fronts emerging.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Inclusion
Subtitle of host publicationSocietal and Organizational Implications for Information Systems
EditorsEileen Trauth, Debra Howcroft, Tom Butler, Tom Butler, Janice DeGross
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-387-34588-8
ISBN (Print)0387345876, 978-0-387-34587-1, 978-1-4419-4181-7
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2006
EventIFIP TC8 WG8.2 International Working Conference - Limerick, Ireland
Duration: 12 Jul 200615 Jul 2006

Publication series

NameIFIP International Federation for Information Processing
ISSN (Print)1571-5736


ConferenceIFIP TC8 WG8.2 International Working Conference


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