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Conceptualising the Network Society in Malaysia

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Various studies have confirmed the existence of a network society in Malaysia. They generally identify its presence through aggregated individual level attributes, such as possession and usage of computer and the Internet, access to computer and the Internet, and benefits received by the network societal members. This society is widely said to be the outcome of the Malaysian government's efforts to counter increasing challenges and impacts of globalisation and ICT waves since the 1990s; in particular, the digital divide within the society. However, a review of the studies has led the authors of this article to highlight some limitations in the conceptualisation of the notions 'network society' and 'network'. Thus, the nature of the network society has not been well-understood. In this article, the authors draw upon some illuminating characteristics that have been provided by the studies to produce a conceptual framework that will serve as a useful analytical tool for a broader alternative and sociological understanding of the character of the network society and digital divide issues in Malaysia.

Affiliations: 1: National University of Malaysia


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