1 Social Dynamics and Change, Department of Social Sciences and Business, Roskilde University2 The Department of Society and Globalisation, Roskilde University3 Roskilde School of Governance, Department of Social Sciences and Business, Roskilde University
Revisiting Policy for Digital Inclusion
In a new strategy for e-government, the Danish government set the goal that in 2015 all contacts between citizens and public authorities must be conducted electronically. In accordance with EU’s strategy for e-government every citizen ought to have equal access to public services, hence the question is: How to form a policy for digital inclusion where nobody is left behind? In continuation of the EU policy it seems reasonable to argue that the public authorities now has an obligation to ‘dress up’ the citizens to serve themselves through the public e-services. Hence, policies and actions for digital inclusion becomes a central theme for the implementation of the new e-government strategy. Until now it has been voluntary whether or not citizens want to use ICT and a lot of especially senior citizens have chosen not to use the technology. However, senior citizens are not the only group affected of the e-government strategy. New frontiers in the digital divide are opening and a new group of excluded become visible: the youngsters. In this way, one of the leading Danish newspapers reports that young people lines up in town halls to get help to fill out forms, which are already available on the internet. The analysis in this paper is based on a multidisciplinary theoretical approach drawing on theories of the digital divide, theories of domestication of technology, and theories about the interplay between users and technology developed in the field of STS (Science, Technology and Society). In continuation of this theoretical framework the analysis is conducted as a mixed methods research where different kinds of knowledge are included. Hence, to analyze the Danish digital divide I draw on statistics developed by Statistics Denmark – the national agency for statistic – as well as a comprehensive qualitative study of senior citizens’ usage of ICT (Jæger, 2005). For the analysis of the policy I draw on a literature study of policy papers (Jæger & Löfgren 2010) as well as six qualitative interviews with key politicians – including the Minister of Science and Technology – and key civil servant.
Digital Divide; E-government; Policy for Inclusion