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Title: Digital divides in Greece : the role of society's culture and decision-making from a top-down and bottom-up perspective : implications for the European information society
Author: Tsatsou, Panayiota
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2009
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The thesis investigates digital divides in Greece, looking specifically at parameters of Internet adoption. It aims to reach beyond access and usage issues, placing Internet adoption within a socio-cultural and decision-making framework. Theoretically, the thesis is structured around three perspectives. First, it draws upon Alfred Schutz's 'everyday life-world' and argues that digital divides should be explored by scrutinising the interactions of individual and systemic agent(s) in an everyday life framework and as part of a continuum of evolution in time. To understand, in particular, Greece's delay in adopting the Internet, the thesis draws on Martin Bauer's work on resistance to technology and argues in support of research to examine the driving forces behind techno-phobia and other forms of resistance. To complement these perspectives on socio-cultural forces, the importance of structural factors is recognised by drawing on the sociology of policy and regulation and pointing out the need to look at the role of society's culture in policy and regulation practices. It thus draws on historical accounts of Greece, introducing cultural indicators that are critical for disentangling policy and regulation in the Greek information society. Empirically, the thesis reveals that in Greece decision-makers appropriate society's culture to serve their own professional interests, without responding to society's needs for accountability and visibility, and that patronage networks, bureaucracy and traditionalism have provided the space for public authorities to direct a weak civil society. Meanwhile, ordinary people dismiss technologies and are critical of policy and regulation which put established everyday life cultures at risk, but also appropriate decision-making mechanisms which serve their individual interests. With profound interdependencies between decision-making and civil society in Greece, policy and regulation have not only failed to drive societal change but have themselves been influenced by the societal traits of traditionalism and techno-phobia that deter Internet adoption. These findings also raise implications for the European information society. Methodologically, mixed and multiple data sources are employed, enabling a comparison and cross-validation from a complementarity and triangulation perspective of data collected on the complex issue of digital divides. The advantages of multiple source data over single methodological approaches are thus demonstrated, offering a potential contribution to other research in the field.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available