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Information technology and social cohesion: A tale of two villages

Wallace, Claire and Vincent, Kathryn and Luguzan, Cristian and Townsend, Leanne and Beel, David (2017) Information technology and social cohesion: A tale of two villages. Journal of Rural Studies, 54. pp. 426-434. ISSN 0743-0167

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Abstract

The study is about social cohesion in rural communities and how this interacts with Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Social cohesion is considered in terms of both system integration and social integration. System integration includes business and cultural organisations, civil society and communal spaces on and offline, which can provide bridging mechanisms to bring together disparate social groups. Social integration refers to more informal mechanisms of inclusion, including social networks, a sense of belonging, commitment to the common good. The paper considers these elements of social cohesion in relation to the intertwining of on and offline relationships by examining two contrasting rural communities in Northern Scotland. The paper concludes that ICT can play very different roles in social cohesion for different social and cultural groups as well as for different kinds of locational communities, but that ICT is becoming an integral part of rural social relations.

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