ZHANG, CHONG (2021) Abundant information resources online, equalized development? Using the internet for learning and the mitigation of unequal occupational mobilities. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.
|PDF - Accepted Version|
This study explores the possibility that using the internet for learning mitigates the inequality of occupational mobility between rural migrant workers, a disadvantaged group in cities, and their advantaged counterparts, urban resident workers, in urban China. To investigate the mitigation of unequal occupational mobilities, this study examines, a) the extent to which using the internet for learning offers greater labour market benefits for the disadvantaged – rural migrant workers, and b) the extent to which rural migrant and urban resident workers have equal use of the internet for learning. This study uses quantitative and qualitative data in a complementary manner, with the quantitative analysis (data from China Family Panel Studies) being used to offer more rigorous results of comparison and the qualitative findings (data from 24 additional semi-structured interviews) being used to enrich explanations to interpret the observed comparative results. The results show a ‘negative selection’ phenomenon in using the internet for learning. That is, while rural migrant workers seem to be able to get more labour market benefits from learning online, they are actually less likely to use the internet for learning in the first place. As such, the results do not show that using the internet for learning mitigates the inequality of occupational mobility between the two groups. Structural inequalities cause rural migrant workers more excluded from using the internet for learning in the first place. The stronger ‘learning-mobility' relationship for rural migrant workers merely reflects their deprivation of skill- and non-skill-related resources for occupational attainment in the urban labour market. The ‘negative selection’ phenomenon in using the internet for learning demonstrates the way that pre-existing structural inequalities are constantly being reproduced with new manifestations in an ever-changing world.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Doctoral)|
|Award:||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Keywords:||Inequality, Mobility, Skill, China, Digital divide, Internet, Learning, Rural migrants, Negative selection|
|Faculty and Department:||Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Sociology, Department of|
|Copyright:||Copyright of this thesis is held by the author|
|Deposited On:||24 Mar 2021 10:51|