Abstract - The Information Society 32(3)

Digital Inclusion and Social Exclusion: The Political Economy of Value in a Networked World

Hamid R. Ekbia

Current debates around user-generated content and its role in wealth generation can be understood as attempts to apply or develop a theory of exploitation or, more broadly, a theory of value. This paper seeks to provide a theory based on the network asymmetries of late capitalism, which tend to unevenly distribute network resources through a logic of “digital inclusion.” The mechanisms that enable this asymmetric situation are introduced, and the historical displacements that have given rise to those mechanisms are briefly discussed. The conceptual model that emerges from the analysis reveals the salient features of the contemporary connexionist world that transcend, but do not erase, class boundaries.

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