2001 volume 28(1) pages 3 – 19
doi:10.1068/b2691

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Warf B, 2001, "Segueways into cyberspace: multiple geographies of the digital divide" Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 28(1) 3 – 19

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Segueways into cyberspace: multiple geographies of the digital divide

Barney Warf

Received 4 November 1999; in revised form 31 May 2000

Abstract. Despite stereotypes that cyberspace spells the 'end of geography' and promises universal, democratic entree to the electronic highways of the world economy, access to the Internet is highly unevenly distributed both socially and spatially. In this paper I examine the geopolitics of Internet access and its implications. I open by situating electronic communications within contemporary social theory, emphasizing cyberspace as a contested terrain of competing discourses. Second, international discrepancies in access are illustrated, dramatizing the ways in which the Internet enhances the advantages enjoyed by a global elite consisting largely of white, male professionals. Third, I turn to discrepancies in Internet access within the United States, including class, racial, gender, and spatial disparities. I seek to demonstrate that geography still matters; the Internet creates and reflects a distinct spatial structure interlaced with, and often reinforcing, existing relations of wealth and power.

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