The purpose of this paper is to widen the debate surrounding participation in the eSociety, shifting the focus from access and economic power to skills and knowledge. It will present empirical research which, whilst not starting out as research into skills for the eSociety, revealed some relevant and enlightening issues. Focusing on two diverse contexts of activity (shopping and health care support) I will illustrate how the status quo (that the educated and economically rich have privileged, unfettered access to the services of the e-society) is flawed, misleading to stakeholders, and detrimental to both service providers and consumers. From a Critical Social Theory (CST) perspective this paper critiques assumptions that the internet brings about citizen empowerment through increased access to information, and opportunities to communicate and share knowledge with service providers and other consumers. It demonstrates that this assumption derives from the myth that technology per se brings huge benefits, including wealth and empowerment. Concludes that access to ICTs alone does not bring about effective engagement in the eSociety. “Digital” or “e” citizens need not only skills and knowledge, but responsive and supportive service provision currently lacking in both public and private spheres of e-citizenship.
McLean, Rachel, "A tale of two e-citizens: a consideration of engagement in the e-society in two contexts" (2006). ECIS 2006 Proceedings. 201.