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Ethnographic Interviews on the Digital Divide
Unformatted Document Text:  Ethnographic Interviews 10 discussions of computer use so as to emphasize the possibilities for leisure-oriented consumption over and above those for education or citizenship. Chris Chandler was a person of lesser means who spoke against digital divide programs based on view that computers are primarily entertainment machines and as such, luxury items. Chris, a 35-year-old Anglo-American, was a divorced father with custody of his 8-year-old daughter Alicia one night a week and every other weekend. He was working for his second year as a field credit representative, or a “repo man” in common parlance: he repossessed items from consumers when they were delinquent on their payments. While he projected that his income would be above $35,000 for the current year, that amount was double what he had earned in previous years, and he expressed no plans to move from his one-bedroom apartment. When asked if he was familiar with the term digital divide, Chris replied: Yes, I have heard it with the media. And I guess I have always taken the term to mean kind of an economic type of thing as to basically people who can’t afford a computer or also they never…they are intimidated by computers I guess would be another way to say it. Like Donald Mueller, Chris Chandler related the digital divide both to economic choices and to inexperience, citing in particular his mother’s lack of expertise with computers: ”I know that there are people who are intimidated [by computers]. We had to force my mom to buy one and she doesn’t use it much. She uses it now for recipes [laughs].” Also like Donald Mueller, he expressed skepticism at the idea that the digital divide might constitute a problem. To him, although it might be important in schools for educational purposes, in the home it was a luxury item:

Authors: Clark, Lynn., Demont-Heinrich, Christof. and Webber, Scott.
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Ethnographic Interviews 10
discussions of computer use so as to emphasize the possibilities for leisure-oriented
consumption over and above those for education or citizenship.
Chris Chandler was a person of lesser means who spoke against digital divide
programs based on view that computers are primarily entertainment machines and as
such, luxury items. Chris, a 35-year-old Anglo-American, was a divorced father with
custody of his 8-year-old daughter Alicia one night a week and every other weekend. He
was working for his second year as a field credit representative, or a “repo man” in
common parlance: he repossessed items from consumers when they were delinquent on
their payments. While he projected that his income would be above $35,000 for the
current year, that amount was double what he had earned in previous years, and he
expressed no plans to move from his one-bedroom apartment.
When asked if he was familiar with the term digital divide, Chris replied:
Yes, I have heard it with the media. And I guess I have always taken the term to
mean kind of an economic type of thing as to basically people who can’t afford a
computer or also they never…they are intimidated by computers I guess would be
another way to say it.
Like Donald Mueller, Chris Chandler related the digital divide both to economic choices
and to inexperience, citing in particular his mother’s lack of expertise with computers: ”I
know that there are people who are intimidated [by computers]. We had to force my
mom to buy one and she doesn’t use it much. She uses it now for recipes [laughs].” Also
like Donald Mueller, he expressed skepticism at the idea that the digital divide might
constitute a problem. To him, although it might be important in schools for educational
purposes, in the home it was a luxury item:


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