The Social, Political and
Cultural Impact of New Technologies: Insights from Surveys on
Contemporary Patterns of Internet Use
Paul DiMaggio and John Robinson, Co-principal Investigators
Paul DiMaggio, research director of the Princeton University
Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies, and Eszter Hargittai,
a graduate affiliate of the Center, are working with John Robinson
and colleagues at the University of Maryland on a project to examine
the social impact of new technologies.
Using survey data collected from the Year 2000 General Social
Survey, researchers will examine the impact of the Internet on
social inequality, democracy and cultural choice. Researchers
are interested in several orienting questions - 1) To what extent
does the Internet make knowledge more widely available and to
what extent does it provide privileged access for high-status
persons, thereby exacerbating social inequalities? 2) To what
extent does the Internet promote civility, social capital and
democratic participation verses increased opinion polarization,
political alienation and extremism? And, 3) To what extent does
Web use expose people to diverse and wide-ranging cultural sites
and artistic forms; and, to what extent do Internet users gravitate
to a few major sites that offer mainstream news and entertainment?
The project is supported by grants from the National Science
Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trust.