The Internet, Policy & Politics Conferences

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Trémenbert: Indicators of the digital divide and its link with other exclusions


Trémenbert, J., Institut Telecom / Telecom Bretagne, Université Européenne de Bretagne, Marsouin


Many papers deal with the digital divide but they often rely on the analysis of uses and users or on digital inequalities. The purpose of this work is also to contribute to the knowledge of the still important proportion of the population who do not use the Internet or who is qualified in surveys as non Web surfer. We explore the variegated situations of digital exclusion and particularly its links with social exclusion and with some other forms of exclusion such as economical or cultural ones. We wonder especially if the distance to the Internet, or proximity, is different for different types of exclusion and if we find within the digital divide expressions of exclusion.

To this end we first review studies establishing the link between digital exclusion and social exclusion. In the second section, we explain in details our approach based on a first work, a participative survey including non users’ reflexion to all steps of that survey (Boutet et Trémenbert [2008]), and then its extrapolation to a whole French region via an empirical survey on 2000 individuals. This first work was the result of a rich dialogue between qualitative approaches and quantitative approaches. The former is extracted from the sociology of uses - which reflect the complexity of situations of non-use, based on the individual personality, their history, their experience, their environment. The latter aims to produce objective indicators, able to portray the most accurate and precise observed situations, while allowing reflection on the results obtained through the study of non-use factors (determinants that are classic, such as socio-economic, or other such opinions). More than new indicators of non usage, we will indicate how investigating in statistical techniques (descriptive and multidimensional techniques) can improve the knowledge of the digital divide. We conclude by results such as a new quantitative typology of non-users based on data on inhibitors, motivations, points of view and picturing. We also describe the specificities of some categories of non users, and users, considered as underprivileged when facing ICT. Furthermore our paper allows providing some specific policy responses.

Digital divide, e-inclusion, indicators, social exclusion, statistical inquiry
Jocelyne Trémenbert