Some of the findings in this paper were presented at the American Sociological Association Meeting on August 8, 2009 at the Internet and Society Session, San Francisco, CA***DRAFT – Please do not cite without author’s permission – DRAFT*** NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Poetics. Changesresulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting,and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have beenmade to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Poetics, Volume 39, Issue 2, April 2011, Pages 145-168, DOI:
The Digital Production Gap: The Digital Divide and Web 2.0 CollideJen Schradie
Department of SociologyBerkeley Center for New MediaUniversity of California - Berkeley
How does class intersect
with claims of digital democracy? Most digital inequality researchfocuses on digital consumption or participation, but this study uses a production lens to examinewho is creating digital content for the public sphere. My results
point to an education-based gapamong producers of online content. A critical mechanism of this inequality is control of digitaltools and an elite internet-in-practice and information habitus to use the Internet.
Using surveydata of American adults who are already online, I apply a logit analysis of ten productionactivities, from blogs and Web sites to discussion forums and social media sites. Even among people who are already online, a digital production gap challenges theories that the Internetcreates an egalitarian public sphere. Instead, digital production inequality suggests that elitevoices still dominate in the new digital commons.
Digital inequality; new media; cultural consumption; cultural production; digital democracy;socioeconomic class
This paper received support from the Jacob K. Javits Foundation and a research grant from theSociology Department at the University of California-Berkeley. Additional guidance provided byIrene Bloemraad, Michael Burawoy, Coye Cheshire, Abigail DeKosnik, Andrew Fiore, ClaudeFischer, Michael Hout, Deborah Hughes-Hallett, Henry Jenkins, Samuel R. Lucas, John LeviMartin, and Cihan Tugal, but the author is solely accountable for any omissions or errors. Pleasesend any comments to Jen Schradie firstname.lastname@example.org.