The Diffusion of Information and Communications Technologies: Objective and Subjective Obstacles

Anna Galácz, Tibor Dessewffy, Zsófia Rét


Even though one of the noteworthy aspects of the Internet is the high speed of its diffusion all over the world, Internet use has been spreading relatively slowly in Hungary. This means, that the digital divide, a central topic for Internet-related scientific research, continues to be highly significant in Hungary. This paper examines the causes of the slow catching up of certain groups and the formation of the typical patterns of digital divides. Literature both on social diffusion and the digital divide was used in our research. Our results show that in addition to the divisive dimensions most often discussed by the literature on the digital divide, a further factor, cultural capital, seems to play an important role.
The starting hypothesis of our research is that besides economic barriers, widely accepted as the most important cause of not using the Internet significantly influential cultural factors can be detected behind the patterns of diffusion in Hungary. With such a hypothesis we can counter the view, less and less present but still dominating public opinion, that providing access suffices to speed up diffusion and to help groups falling behind catch up.


internet, diffusion, economic barriers, cultural capital

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