Call for Chapter Proposals | Digital Inequalities in the Global South

Doug Belshaw (CC BY-SA 2.0)


Call for Chapter Proposals for an Edited Volume on
“Digital Inequalities in the Global South”
Massimo Ragnedda (Northumbria University, UK)
Anna Gladkova (Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia)
This book will focus on the rising digital inequalities in countries from geographical areas insufficiently covered and underrepresented. While in the so called Global South (Mahler 2015) access to the Internet has risen tremendously in the last years (shrinking the first level of digital divide) new inequalities are emerging between those who have access to broadband Internet and those who do not, between gender, between different socio-economic backgrounds and between users with different levels of education. Furthermore, going beyond the first level of digital divide, new forms of inequalities also emerged in relation with different digital skills, digital competencies, different motivations in using ICTs and different support. Both limited access to and use of the Internet affect citizens’ existential opportunities (van Dijk, 2005) and negatively influence the process of social inclusion (Warschauer, 2003), and thus contributing to offline disadvantages (Chen, 2013). Finally, new forms of digital inequalities are related with the so called third level of digital divide (Ragnedda, 2017), namely the capacity/ability to fully exploit the Internet and to transform its use into tangible outcomes. Such inequalities in the returning social benefits of using the Internet, are growing everywhere but especially in the Global South. This book, therefore, fits in the lively debate, opened by the advent of ICTs, on inequalities in access (first level of digital divide), uses (second level of digital divide) and outcomes generated online and valuable in the social realm (third level of digital divide).
Digital inequalities in the Global South will focus on the social, cultural and economic consequences of digital inequalities where the majority of the world’s internet users now live (Asia, Africa and Latin America). These communities are a distinct disadvantage when digital technologies are introduced (Boas, Dunning & Bussell, 2005). The main idea, therefore, is to underline, with specific case studies, how marginalized communities are now attempting to participate in the information age, despite high costs, the lack of relevant content and technological support. How these barriers are preventing (or limiting) disadvantaged communities in using computers and the Internet? Is the Global South still risking to being left behind? How has the Global South changed in the last years? How is the Global South facing these challenges?
The rapid progress of the digital technologies infrastructure is crucial for countries seeking to combat poverty, exclusion, and guarantee basic services. The development of ICTs opens new opportunities to attain higher levels of progress and growth, and may help in creating an environment that fosters innovation, nurture science, empowers active citizens and spurs business growth and has become a priority for developing countries. However, these advantages are often overemphasised and seem the reflection of the Western’s gaze in relation to peripheral societies. The Global South is caught in a growing paradox. On the one hand, the rapid technological advancement is fostering economic prosperity, creating greater communication and information possibilities, helping in fighting for democracy. On the other end, not everybody is enjoying the possibilities offered by the digital technologies, and digital inequalities are increasingly hindering economic and social development, exacerbating already existing inequalities. There is, therefore, a need to go beyond this techno-evangelist and western centred approach that sees the development of ICTs as the main leading force able to drive economic, cultural and social development, by adopting a critical approach that underlines also the disadvantages that digital inequalities are bringing to the Global South. 
In order to expand both the theoretical and the empirical perspectives brought to bear on digital inequalities in the global context, we are inviting scholars from different research fields (e.g., Sociology, (New) Media Studies, Communications, etc.) to apply social theories of stratification, inequalities, postcolonialism, poststructuralist and post-development theories etc. to develop new perspectives on the rise and persistence of digital inequalities in the Global South. These approaches would question the assumptions of development and progress that underlie the discourse on digital technologies as a panacea for solving poverty and shrinking inequalities. Authors are invited to investigate how different axes of power and privilege – income, ethnicity, age, gender – are intertwined with digital inequalities. We intend to stimulate innovative ways to study digital and social inequalities in developing countries.
Potential contributors are invited to explore the importance of social theories in analysing the development of digital inequalities and how these inequalities, if not addressed, slow the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Our aim is to connect this collection to a critical review of inequalities that may interact with /have some impact on the 2030 agenda, Sustainable Development Goals.
Chapters must contain illustrative empirical evidence or examples and must be theoretical based. Submissions are welcome from scholars at all stages of their careers, and from various relevant disciplines.
Proposed structure
The aim of this edited volume is to bring together perspectives and areas in digital inequalities that are under-explored. The book will explore a range of empirical case brought to the fore by the digital revolution. Each chapter should detail its theoretical trajectory and provide at least one case study exemplar. We therefore welcome chapters that focus, but are certainly not limited, to the following issues:
·       Who and why benefits and who does not from the development of digital technologies?
·       What have been done so far and what could be done to bridge digital inequalities in the Global South?
·       Which role the development of digital technologies may play for health and education in the Global South?
·       Which role the development of digital technologies may play for agriculture and water?
·       Which role the development of digital technologies may play for democracy, online activism and civic participation?
·       Which role the development of digital technologies may play for reducing and preventing conflict?
·       How the development of digital technologies may help during humanitarian emergencies?
·       Which role the development of digital technologies may play for the economic growth and financial inclusion?
·       Do new digital jobs offer opportunities for the Global South and how marginalized communities are taking advantage of these opportunities?
·       How to create a democratic and inclusive digital economy?
The specific case studies may also:
·       Propose a theoretical framework to critically understand the role of information and digital technologies in the development process.
·       Critically discuss the potential disruption caused by access to digital communications;
·       Generate evidence on digital inequalities issues facing citizens among marginalized communities.
·       Promote evidence-informed policy change for improving access, use, and application of ICTs for social and cultural development and economic growth.
Abstracts should include the following information:
·         Proposed article title
·         Proposed author names and affiliations
·         Theme being addressed
·         Purpose/aim of the chapter
·         Principal body of literature/theoretical framework
·         Indicative case study

Submission Procedure
You are invited to submit a word document with a brief author or authors CV (no more than 250 words with titles, affiliations, and contacts), title of the proposal and the abstract (500-700 words). All proposals should be submitted to the following addresses: and
Deadline is 20 September 2018.

The final decision will be notified to the authors by 
30 September 2018. Authors will be invited to send a full text by 20 February 2019. The chapter’s length will be 6000 words, including references. Submitted chapters should not have been previously published or sent to another editor.
Abstracts will be judged on criteria of relevance and originality of topic. Notification of initially-approved abstracts will be announced in mid-September, after which contributors will be asked to move forward to the peer-review submission phase. We will submit the book proposal to Palgrave.  
Contributions of 6000 words (maximum including abstract, footnotes, tables/figures with captions, references, and appendices, if any) will be due 20 February 2019. Chapters will be subject to double-blind peer review, and to encourage coherence in the special section, all contributors will be requested to act as a peer reviewer for one other article.
Also, please feel welcome to post this call for papers widely and to forward it to interested colleagues and students. We hope to see some proposals from many of you, and for now, please feel welcome to be in contact if you have any questions for us.
Our tasks and the proposed timeline are as follows:
•           30 September 2018 – Completion of Proposal and Submission to Palgrave
•           20 February 2019 – Manuscripts Due to Editors from All Contributors
•           30 March 2019 – Review of Manuscripts Completed & Manuscripts Returned to Contributors
•           30 May 2019 – Revised Manuscripts Due from Contributors
•           30 June 2019 – Final Manuscript Delivered to Publisher
•           X/XX/XX – Final Appearance in Print Will Depend on Publisher’s Timeline