A common open space or a digital divide? A social model perspective on the online disability community in China

Baorong Guo, John C. Bricout, Jin Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper explores the use and impact of the Internet by disabled people in China, informed by the social model of disability. Based on survey data from 122 disabled individuals across 25 provinces in China, study findings suggest that there is an emerging digital divide in the use of Internet amongst the disability community in China. Internet users in our study do not appear to be representative of most disabled people in China. For the minority of disabled people who do have access to the Internet, however, its use can lead to significantly improved frequency and quality of social interaction. Study findings further suggest that the Internet significantly reduced existing social barriers in the physical and social environment for disabled people. Implications for future research, and strategies for increasing reducing the digital divide between the minority of Internet users and the majority of disabled people in China are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-66
Number of pages18
JournalDisability and Society
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

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