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International Training and the Digital Divide: Computer and Email Use in the Philippines

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image of Perspectives on Global Development and Technology
For more content, please see Journal of Developing Societies.

We describe digital technology utilization among knowledge producers who have experienced the alternative training structures. Using data from a face-to-face survey of Filipino scientists, we measure email utilization by scientists in terms of five aspects of access and use, and examine how they vary across place of graduate education. Our questions are: (1) How can we characterize peripheral scientists in terms of their contextual, personal, professional, and educational attributes? (2) How can we characterize their utilization of digital technology? (3) Are there indications that core-based graduate training translates into yet another significant dimension in digital inequality? Our finding suggests that the Philippine scientific system largely reflects the perspective of core-trained male scientists. Filipino scientists are able to utilize digital technology—personal computers, email, and the World Wide Web—but with important qualifications. While scientists at the core have the luxury of architectural, digital, and personal privacy in hardware-software-user interaction, such is not the case for Filipino scientists, who in general have to share digital resources in public spaces within formal organizations. Finally, place of graduation emerges as a new form shaping digital utilization and inequality. The diffusion of digital technology into peripheral scientific systems has been uneven along this newly emerging dimension. Digital inequality construed as simple hardware-software access and use is diminishing, but inequality at the level of advanced hardware-software interaction skills is fast emerging as a new dimension that encapsulates postcolonial relations in science.


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