Daily life of digital exclusion in rural areas
Digitization is changing the structures and operating practices of societies at an ever-increasing pace. However, the benefits of digitization are not evenly distributed. While most of the people use digital devices and services quite smoothly, some people remain outside the digitizing society for various reasons.
The discussion about digital exclusion has been dominated by a perspective emphasizing the digital skills of individuals. On the other hand, the regional dimension of the phenomenon has received very little attention. This is despite the fact that the internal differences in the level of digital infrastructure within the country are considerable.
Recognizing the necessity and inevitability of digitization, the MaaseutuDIGI project produces a comprehensive understanding about the factors influencing the background of digital exclusion and the means through which the related challenges can be tackled. The research is guided by the question: how do the challenges of digitalization and the reasons behind them appear in everyday life in rural areas, where the physical distancing of services is more concretely present and thus the need to develop digital transactions and services is most acute.
The research applies a multi-method approach, where the phenomenon of interest – digital exclusion and everyday disadvantage in rural areas – is approached by combining complementary qualitative and quantitative materials, different research methods and theoretical perspectives.
The research produces information about the phenomenon of digital exclusion and the underlying root causes from the rural perspective. It also highlights ways in which digital inclusion can be strengthened or its obstacles removed. These means can be utilized in the development of rural areas as well as other areas. The research process itself includes as an essential part elements that activate social discussion and increase general awareness and strengthen social equality.
Mari KattilakoskiUniversity LecturerDepartment of Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies