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Living Offline: A Qualitative Study of Internet Non-Use in Great Britain and Sweden
University of Borås, Swedish School of Library and Information Science.
University of Borås, Swedish School of Library and Information Science.
2012 (English)In: Selected Papers of Internet Research; IR 13, Association of Internet Researchers , 2012Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This study explores and compares attitudes and feelings of middle-aged British and Swedish Internet non-users as well as their reasons for being offline. The rich qualitative data are conceptualized and presented according to various reasons for non-use, positive and negative feelings regarding non-use, and the positive as well as negative influence of and dependence on social networks. The comparison shows both unique and common perceptions of the British and Swedish respondents, some of which can be attributed to social, economic, or socio-economic factors. However, it also displays vast differences between middle-aged non-users in both countries. The analysis paints a complex picture of decisions for and against the use of the Internet and the need for more research to understand these highly complex phenomena, which cannot simply be attributed to socio-economic backgrounds as has been done in most previous research. The analysis shows that more complex reasons, such as lack of interest or discomfort with technologies, as well as the somewhat surprising finding that social networks can prevent non-users from learning how to use the Internet, as it is more convenient to stay a proxy-user, should be considered in future research and policies regarding digital inequalities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Association of Internet Researchers , 2012.
, Selected Papers of Internet Research, ISSN 2162-3317
Keyword [en]
Internet non-use, digital inequalities, cross-country comparison
National Category
Information Studies Cultural Studies
Research subject
Library and Information Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-6830Local ID: 2320/11472OAI: diva2:887533
Internet Research 13.0, Salford, UK 18-21 October, 2012
Available from: 2015-12-22 Created: 2015-12-22

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Axelsson, Ann-SofieMaurin Söderholm, Hanna
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