Civic Culture Meets the Digital Divide: The Role of Community Electronic Networks



The concept of social capital reflects the norms and social relations embedded in the social structure of societies that enable people to coordinate community action to achieve desired goals. Our research focuses on the role that norms of cooperation and civic and political culture play in addressing the “digital divide” in computer use and Internet access. We review evidence from mail surveys of randomly selected respondents in two rural Minnesota communities as well as qualitative focus group and archival evidence suggesting that the communities have adopted different approaches to technology diffusion. Whether information technology is viewed as a public or private good depends in part on the civic culture of a community.