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Digital Fusion

A Society Beyond Blind Inclusion


Joy Pierce

The first national recognition of disparities in access to information technologies – a digital divide – surfaced in a 1995 report by The National Telecommunication and Information Administration. Despite efforts to close the gap and promote digital inclusion, statistical data over the course of nearly 20 years indicate a significant disparity remains in poor and minority communities. In this accessible yet scholarly work, Joy Pierce illustrates the need to examine the societal status of information technologies at the micro level. Digital Fusion is a sustained and integrated project that combines more than a decade of community participatory research in two regions of the United States. Using qualitative research methods and drawing from critical cultural studies and social theory, Digital Fusion is an interdisciplinary project that engages digital literacy and social justice issues related to race, ethnicity, language, class, and education. Thought-provoking, multi-vocal, and multi-lingual narratives from racial and ethnic minorities as well as institutional administrators lay the groundwork for potential policy implications and digital infrastructure and design. Digital Fusion illuminates the complexities of digital access and use at the micro-level and offers a participatory project that seeks to co-create a digital space; one that speaks to the specific cultural, linguistic, and social needs of underrepresented communities.
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Chapter 3. Stepping into the Center: Home Computer and Internet Access


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Home Computer and Internet Access

Narratives in this chapter illuminate participant lessons learned in the classroom through CNI computer and internet training as well as in the home once computer home ownership was realized. Interviews that take place several months to years after completing the CNI training offer participants the opportunity to reflect and discuss their lived experiences, which often times counter the assumptions made by computer instructors, grassroots organizers and mainstream media.

The majoritarian perspective as described in chapters 1 and 2 of this book assume poor and working class people must own a computer and have access to the internet in order to improve their economic status in addition to enhancing their education and social lives. While such aspirations were some participants it was not the case for all. Not a single person interviewed saw her or himself as a victim or someone who was particularly oppressed. They recognized their financial and educational limitations and constantly strived to find ways to improve the lives of their family and the community.


Wendy, Black single mother of four adult children and five grandchildren ← 29 | 30 →

The Early Years and Education

Wendy grew up in a small town in Tennessee. She tells me about her childhood while three of her five grandchildren paw at her feet and hang onto her neck from the back of the...

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