Document Type : Scientific Research Manuscript


Department of Social Sciences, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Mazandaran, Babolsar, Iran


An ever-increasing digital divide around the globe has turned into one of the greatest challenges to several areas of the information society with direct and indirect consequences. This has also increased the demand for more research in this field. This study, which is based on Bourdieu's cultural capital reproduction theory, is an attempt to answer the question as: To what extent individuals' cultural capital affects the digital gap among them? The survey method was applied in this research where a questionnaire was used to collect the data. The population of the study consisted of 183,198 youths from the city of Bābol (Mazandaran, Iran) aged 18-29 years. The sample size was estimated to be 385 by Cochran formula. The data were then collected randomly in a multistage cluster sampling from 8 areas in the above city. The results showed that there is a digital divide among people with different cultural capitals. The results of multiple regression analysis showed that the objectified dimension of the cultural capital (β = 0.472), the embodied dimension (β = 0.41) and the institutionalized dimension (β = 0.20) had the greatest effect on the people's digital divide. The results also showed that the independent variable of the research, i.e. cultural capital, explained about 0.26 percent of the variance of the dependent variable, i.e. the digital divide.


Main Subjects

Abbasikasbi, H.; Majidi Ghahrodi; Nasrollahi, A. (2020). Identification of factors affecting digital divide in Iran (Study: Qom province villages) With the Delphi approach and the Fuzzy Hierarchy. Interdisciplinary Studies in Media and Culture, 10(1), 133-163. doi: 10.30465/ismc.2020.5106

Afsharkohan, J.; Zamani, Z. (2009). Youth and the digital gap with emphasis on youth in the city of Hamadan. Quarterly of Cultural Studies & Communication, 16, 82-102.

Ashrafi Fashi, S., & Abollahi, B. (2017). Exploring the relationship between components of digital divide and students' academic achievement. Higher Education Letter, 39, 115-135.

Barzilai-Nahon, K. (2006). Gaps and bits: Conceptualizing measurements for digital divide/s. The Information Society, 22(5), 269–278. doi:10.1080/01972240600903953

Bonfadelli, H. (2002). The internet and knowledge gaps. European Journal of Communication, 17(1), 65–84.   doi:10.1177/0267323102017001607

Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In G. Richardson (Ed.). Handbook of theory of research for the sociology of education (pp. 241-258). New York: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Bourdieu, P., Passeron, J.-C. (1990). Reproduction in education, society and culture (2nd ed.; R. Nice, Trans.). New York: Sage Publications, Inc.

Castells, M. (2011). The power of identity: The information age: Economy, society, and culture. (Vol. 2). New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Chalabi, M. (1996). Sociology of order; Theoretical description and analysis of social order. Tehran, Iran: Ney.

Chauviré, C., & Fontaine, O. (2003). Le vocabulaire de Bourdieu (M. Katbi, Trans.). Tehran, Iran: Ney.

Di Maggio, P., Hargittai, E. (2001). From the ‘digital divide’to ‘digital inequality’: Studying Internet use as penetration increases. Princeton: Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, 4(1), 4-2.

Drabowicz, T. P. (2012). Digital Inequalities as Class Inequalities? A comparison of youth in advanced societies in-and outside Europe (Unpublished doctoral dissertation), European University Institute, and Florence.

Dutton, W. H. (2004). Social transformation in an information society (M. Tavakol, & E. Kazemipoor, Trans.). Tehran, Iran: Iranian National Commission for UNESCO Press.

Fakouhi, F. (2003). History of anthropological thought and theories. Tehran, Iran: Ney.

Gurstein, M. (2003). Effective use: A community informatics strategy beyond the digital divide. First Monday, 8(12). doi:10.5210/fm.v8i12.1107

Hajesmaili, F., & Kazemi, H. (2019). Comparison of quadratic levels of digital divide in terms of demographic variables: Case study of Rafsanjān City. Social Problems of Iran. 9(2), 27-48.

Hargittai, E. (2018). The digital reproduction of inequality. In The Inequality Reader (PP. 660-670). UK: Routledge.

Ignatow, G., & Robinson, L. (2017). Pierre Bourdieu: theorizing the digital. Information, Communication & Society, 20(7), 950–966.  doi:10.1080/1369118x.2017.1301519

Khajehnoori, B., Karimi, M., & Keshavarzi, S. (2014). Relationship between digital divide and empowerment of Shirāz women. Women in Development & Politics, 12(1), 21-38. doi: 10.22059/jwdp.2014.51345

Kim, S. (2011). The effects of internet use on academic achievement and behavioral adjustment among South Korean adolescents: Mediating and moderating roles of parental factors. Syracuse University.

Kvasny, L. (2002). A conceptual framework for examining digital inequality. AMCIS (Americas Conference on Information Systems). Proceedings, 246.

Kvasny, L. (2006). Cultural (Re)production of digital inequality in a US community technology initiative. Information, Communication & Society, 9(2), 160–181. doi:10.1080/13691180600630740

Lee, S. (2016). Smart divide: Paradigm shift in digital divide in South Korea. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 48(3), 260–268. doi:10.1177/0961000614558079

Livingstone, S., Helsper, E. (2010). Balancing opportunities and risks in teenagers’ use of the internet: the role of online skills and internet self-efficacy. New Media & Society, 12(2), 309–329.  doi:10.1177/1461444809342697

Matic, I. (2006). Digital divide in Istria (Unpublished doctoral dissertation), Ohio University.

McQuail, D. (2001). Audience analysis (M. Montazer Ghaem, Trans.). Tehran, Iran: Media Studies and Research Center Press.

Melhem, S., Morell, C., Tandon, N. (2009). Information and communication technologies for women's socio-economic empowerment, The World Bank.

Niazi, M., & Karkonan, M. (2007). A sociological study of the relationship between cultural capital and social identity of Youths. National Studies, 8(31), 57-80.

OECD (2001). Organization for economic co-operation and development. Reterived from

Patterson, R., Wilson, E.J. (2000). New IT and social inequality: Resetting the research and policy agenda. The Information Society, 16(1), 77–86. doi:10.1080/019722400128347

Roshandel Arbatani, T., Kazemi, H., & Haj Esmaeili, F. (2014). Determinants of the digital divide (Case study: Rafsanjan citizens). Journal of Public Administration, 6(4), 681-703.  doi: 10.22059/jipa.2014.52035

Sadrerhami, N., Khajehnoori, B., Ghafarinasab, E. (2018). The relationship between social capital and digital Gap among young people in Isfahan and Najafabad. Intelligence and Criminal Research, 52, 111-140.

Salehi Amiri, S. R. (2007). Cultural concepts and theories (1st ed.). Tehran, Iran: Qoqnoos.

Savolainen, R. (2002). Network competence and information seeking on the internet: From definitions towards a social cognitive model. Iranian Journal of Information Processing and Management, 19(3,4), 61-69.

Sedghi, S., Jafarbegloo, A., Roudbari, M., Razmgir, M. (2019). Investigate the digital divide among the graduate students in Iran University of medical sciences in term use, accessibility & IT skills. Knowledge and Information Management, 6(1), 27-37. doi: 10.30473/mrs.2020.50223.1407

Servon, L. J. (2008). Bridging the digital divide: Technology, community and public policy. New York: John Wiley & Sons.   doi:10.1002/9780470773529

Severin, W.J., Tankard, J.W. (1997). Communication theories: Origins, methods, and uses in the mass media (pp. 300-310). Tehran, Iran: University of Tehran Press.

Shahramnia, AM., Marandi, Z., Mehrabi, R., & Sistani, M. (2015). The relationship between media consumption and cultural capital. Social Welfare Quarterly, 59, 187-219.

Sharepour, M., & Khoshfar, G. (2002). The relationship between cultural capital and youth social identity (Case Study of Tehran). Journal of Social Sciences Letter, 20(0), 133-147.

Smith, P. D. (1964). Cultural theory: An introduction (H. Pooyan, Trans.; 2nd ed.). Tehran, Iran: Daftar-e Pažoohešhā-ye Farhangi.

Tajbakhsh, K. (2005). Social capital: Trust, democracy and development (A. Khakbaz, & H. Pooyan, Trans.). Tehran, Iran: Shirāze.

Vakilian, S. A. (2008). Cultural capital and how to use the Internet in dormitory students; case study of university dormitories (M.A. Thesis), Allameh Tabataba'i University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Van Deursen, A. J., Van Dijk, J. A. (2019). The first-level digital divide shifts from inequalities in physical access to inequalities in material access. New Media & Society, 21(2), 354–375.   doi:10.1177/1461444818797082

Zokaei, M. (2016). Inequalities in cultural capital in Tehran. Journal of Iranian Cultural Research, 8(4), 169-196. doi: 10.7508/ijcr.2015.32.007