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Digital by default? A qualitative study of exclusion in digitalised welfare

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Digitalisation reforms have become increasingly pervasive across European welfare agencies and public sector institutions. As welfare provision becomes premised on the use of digital technologies, often in the form of “self‐service” solutions, new demands are imposed on citizens, including already disadvantaged groups. Although existing research has showcased how digitalisation often reproduces existing lines of stratification, little to no work has been conducted on such processes in the context of welfare provision and public administration. Through a study of citizen service centres in Denmark, based on ethnographic observations and qualitative interviews, this article analyses the new exclusionary mechanisms that emerge at the frontline of the digital agenda. The article argues that digitalised welfare agencies simultaneously sustain existing lines of social stratification and enhance these by producing new forms of digital exclusion. Taken together, the article contributes with new knowledge on the impact of digitalisation policies and their exclusionary consequences for disadvantaged citizens.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Policy and Administration
Pages (from-to)1-14
ISSN0144-5596
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2018

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