Community regeneration : The information society in deprived areas of South Yorkshire.

BAKER-GREEN, Karl. (2013). Community regeneration : The information society in deprived areas of South Yorkshire. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

The proliferation of the information society over the last twenty years has made access to, and engagement with, information and communications technologies (ICT) and the Internet increasingly important aspects of social inclusion in contemporary society. Similarly, the ability to be able to use ICT effectively has been described as the indispensable grammar of modern life. Because of this there is a growing concern between those who have access and can use ICT the Internet and those who don't - referred to as the digital divide. This has resulted in a plethora of local, national and international policies aimed at getting people online and connected to the Internet being set in motion over the last couple of decades. These policies aim to bridge the 'digital divide' by focussing on increasing access to ICT for those living in deprived areas, areas already viewed as suffering from high levels of poverty and social exclusion. South Yorkshire, with many of its villages and urban areas built specifically for the coal industry had suffered from terminal decline with the closure of many of its pits over the last forty years. The decline of manufacturing has resulted in an array of economic and social problems burgeoning within many of its communities, to the point where the South Yorkshire region was granted Objective 1 funding from the European Union. The research explores whether or not ICT and the Internet can become the expected solution to so many diverse and interrelated problems facing the people and places of South Yorkshire - particularly with regard to the social and economic regeneration of deprived areas. The research was undertaken in two phases in 2003 and 2013 at Grimethorpe which in 2003 was considered one of the most deprived wards in Europe. In 2013, due to continued regeneration efforts, Grimethorpe's social and economic fortunes have improved greatly. Both phases of the research utilised a case study design and qualitative methodology to explore how local residents were accessing and using ICT and the Internet. In the first phase three community technology centres to be found within Grimethorpe were examined, two publicly funded and one from the third sector funded by Objective 1 South Yorkshire. These were explored in relation to ICT policy outcomes of both funding bodies which focussed on how the centres could help local digitally excluded people overcome the digital divide; build the social capital within deprived areas and also up-skill the local workforce to be able to participate in the wider knowledge economy of South Yorkshire. Findings from the first stage highlighted how people from Grimethorpe were not using the community technology centres due to a number of socio-economic barriers relating to low-levels of education, poverty, lack of observable employment and also in the form of resistance by residents of Grimethorpe themselves. The second phase of the research returned to Grimethorpe a decade later in order to investigate how the rapid changes of technology in the intervening years were being experienced by several families in the community. Here similar barriers to those found in phase one were discovered along with how family members are becoming central to helping other members overcome the digital divide. The research concludes that in order to help people overcome the digital divide they need to have a suitable reason to access and use ICT and the Internet, something often made aware to them by someone they trust.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis (Ph.D.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2013.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:18
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2018 13:46
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/19307

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