社会階層とインターネット利用:デジタル・デバイド論批判 Social Stratification and Internet Use:Critique of Digital Divide Studies
Some authors assert that the digital divide is a serious social problem and the government must improve the situation. The digital divide theorists often rely on the data showing that the internet-use rate of higher-income group is much higher than that of lower-income group. They, however, don't examine the relationship between the internet-use rate and income, controlling any related variables. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to examine whether the digital divide really exists and whether it is a serious social problem, from a social-stratification perspective with multivariate analyses. We consider the characteristics of the digital divide studies and derive the three tasks of our data analyses: the trend of the digital divide, the causal effect of income on internet use, and that of internet use on income. Our analyses show,1) the digital divide decreased from 2000 to 2002 but still exists,2) household income has a significant effect on internet use even after controlling related variables, but 3) internet use doesn't have a significant effect on personal income. From the results, we conclude that the digital divide exists but it is not a serious social problem, because internet use cannot reproduce social stratification and it still doesn't make a serious inequality of life chance in Japan.
ソシオロジ 48(3), 53-66,143, 2004