The focus of the report
A) a survey based analysis of the 2001 – 2003 evolution in digital inclusion
Part A analyses what has happened in Europe since 2001 with respect to e-Inclusion, on the basis of recent survey findings. The main trends of ICT penetration and use in European
societies, including New Member States and Candidate Countries (Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey), are identified, with particular attention to the existing and emerging gaps. On the basis of available empirical evidence, the following main questions are addressed: Is the European Knowledge Society more "inclusive" now than it was two years ago? What likely future scenarios can be expected and what kind of public intervention do they call for?
B) a paradigm shift; from eInclusion to processes of ICTs appropriation in "everyday life" of European citizens
Part B reviews the main lines along which the various "digital divides" have been tackled by eInclusion strategies in the EU so far. How to assess their impact on digital as well as social
participation and quality of life of the European citizens, particularly the most vulnerable ones? This report tries to draws lessons from European and international actions and good practices. It also advances suggestions concerning the adoption of new analytical tools – such as an "everyday life" approach to technology appropriation - for catching the relevant sociotechnical phenomena at the current stage of ICT diffusion in the EU.
C) the local and regional dimension of the knowledge society: social inclusion and social cohesion issues;
Both the European Employment Strategy and the Strategy for Social Inclusion have long stressed the importance of local implementation. The Information Society has also been given a clear priority in the new programming phase of European Regional policy (2000-2006)7. In Part C, a survey of the current "geographical" patterns of eInclusion is carried out, along the urban/rural divide and across regions, as well as an analysis of eInclusion dynamics at the local and community level, with a focus on their potential for enhancing social integration, political participation, cultural identity, as well as interactions between local and global levels.