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Ethnographic Interviews on the Digital Divide
Unformatted Document Text:  Ethnographic Interviews 16 bedroom apartment with her 17-year-old son, Dell, a high-school dropout who had worked in automotive and landscaping. Her son had bought the family’s first new computer, a Gateway, less than a year before the first interview. The family’s other computer, which Megan said she rarely used once she finished with college, was purchased used when Megan started community college in 1993. As was true with virtually all of our interviewees, Megan was not initially familiar with the term digital divide, although she was intimately acquainted with the concept. When she was asked what she thought about the digital divide, Megan Sealy replied: I think it’s very true. I think our society is becoming more of the haves and the have nots. There’s a greater divide between -- the middle class is getting more blurred and it’s either you’re poor or you’re rich. And I do think it is a shame that a lot of people don’t have access. I think it’s great that companies step up to the plate and buy computers for people who live in Harlem and stuff like that who don’t have those kinds of resources. Just because those people are at a disadvantage in society. Just in general, their not having that technology [puts them at a disadvantage]. Megan was not alone in drawing explicit attention to class divisions within the context of questions about the digital divide. Several single parents discussed economic class directly in response to such questions. Anna Lally, a 23-year-old Anglo-American, was a master electrician and single parent to 7-year-old Bob. Anna, whose annual household income fluctuated between $25,000 and $30,000, did not have Internet access in her two-bedroom apartment, and used a computer only to a limited extent at her workplace. Here is Anna Lally’s

Authors: Clark, Lynn., Demont-Heinrich, Christof. and Webber, Scott.
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Ethnographic Interviews 16
bedroom apartment with her 17-year-old son, Dell, a high-school dropout who had
worked in automotive and landscaping. Her son had bought the family’s first new
computer, a Gateway, less than a year before the first interview. The family’s other
computer, which Megan said she rarely used once she finished with college, was
purchased used when Megan started community college in 1993.
As was true with virtually all of our interviewees, Megan was not initially familiar
with the term digital divide, although she was intimately acquainted with the concept.
When she was asked what she thought about the digital divide, Megan Sealy replied:
I think it’s very true. I think our society is becoming more of the haves and the
have nots. There’s a greater divide between -- the middle class is getting more
blurred and it’s either you’re poor or you’re rich. And I do think it is a shame that a
lot of people don’t have access. I think it’s great that companies step up to the
plate and buy computers for people who live in Harlem and stuff like that who
don’t have those kinds of resources. Just because those people are at a
disadvantage in society. Just in general, their not having that technology [puts
them at a disadvantage].
Megan was not alone in drawing explicit attention to class divisions within the context of
questions about the digital divide. Several single parents discussed economic class
directly in response to such questions.
Anna Lally, a 23-year-old Anglo-American, was a master electrician and single
parent to 7-year-old Bob. Anna, whose annual household income fluctuated between
$25,000 and $30,000, did not have Internet access in her two-bedroom apartment, and
used a computer only to a limited extent at her workplace. Here is Anna Lally’s


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