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Digital Technology and Democratic Theory$
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Lucy Bernholz, Héléne Landemore, and Rob Reich

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780226748436

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226748603.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 04 July 2022

Digital Exclusion: A Politics of Refusal

Digital Exclusion: A Politics of Refusal

(p.113) 4 Digital Exclusion: A Politics of Refusal
Digital Technology and Democratic Theory

Seeta Peña Gangadharan

University of Chicago Press

Centering on issues of marginality, technology, and social justice, this chapter address issues of inclusion and exclusion in a datafied society. Specifically, it argues that digital exclusion involves processes of political reimagining, rather than just deprivation or loss. Individuals and groups exclude themselves by refusing, rejecting, or resisting the terms and conditions of technology adoption and technological control. To develop this argument, the chapter proposes a framework for envisioning communicative justice. The framework challenges claims that exclusion means the inability of members of marginalized groups to participate meaningfully in a democratic society. It highlights the value of collective self-exclusion in transforming communicative and political power and underlines the role of technology in mediating such power. Using this framework, the chapter unpacks negative interpretations of digital exclusion, contrasts these with an affirmative definition focused on refusal, and examines practices of refusal among community organizers and members of marginalized communities in the city of Detroit. Seen in this light, digital exclusion allows individuals and groups to reimagine sociotechnical systems and demand better of them.

Keywords:   digital inclusion, digital exclusion, marginality, social justice, technological refusal

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