Bourdieusian e-capital perspective enhancing digital capital discussion in the realm of third level digital divide

Maria Merisalo, Teemu Makkonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to create a research framework to scrutinize how individuals' digital technology use produces tangible and intangible outcomes in online (digital) and offline realms. Design/methodology/approach: The paper applies the Bourdieusian e-capital perspective to create a theory-based framework. The framework was used to guide a survey design to explore women's “social media-assisted reuse” at the micro-scale in Helsinki, Finland. Findings: The paper argues that a new form of capital emerges when individuals utilize digital technologies in correspondence to their goals to gain added value that would be impossible or significantly more arduous to gain without the digital realm. The survey indicates that the respondents utilize the digital space – set objectives and gain capital-related outcomes – in correspondence to their differing social, economic and cultural positions and related resources in- and outside of the digital realm. Practical implications: If digital spaces – due to social inequality and underlying power structures – become increasingly stratified, there will be significant impacts on how individuals from differing backgrounds gain accumulated forms of capital through the digital realm. The question is of great importance for battling inequality. Originality/value: The paper enhances and synthesizes recent discussions on different forms of capital and outcomes of the use of digital technologies and presents a combined “e-capital–digital divide” framework that offers a more complete agenda for investigating the finely nuanced links between the inputs, outputs and outcomes of digital technology use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-252
Number of pages22
JournalInformation Technology and People
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Benefits
  • Digital capital
  • Digital inequality
  • Digital space
  • e-capital
  • Gender
  • Inclusion
  • Intersectional
  • Outcomes
  • Segregated
  • Third level digital divide
  • Women


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