Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

The Power of Emotions: The Ethics of Care in the Digital Inclusion Processes of Marginalized Communities

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Abstract:  Digital inclusion research has focused on the conditions, practices, and activities necessary to ensure that all individuals and communities, including the most marginalized populations, can access and use digital technologies. The complexities of Internet appropriation that enable digital inclusion have traditionally been approached from a macro‐level perspective that focuses on access infrastructure policies. Although motivations and social, economic, and cultural capital have been part of the analysis at the individual level, there are still questions about how this process unfolds at the community level. Specifically, little is known about how dynamics and interactions among marginalized groups with weaker online skills and limited Internet access influence technological appropriation. The ethics of care offers complementary insights into this phenomenon, allowing scholars to look at how emotions can trigger actions that lead to the technological involvement of those on the digital periphery. Drawing on 71 in‐depth interviews conducted in person with Internet users in 16 rural and urban communities in Chile, we discuss how care sets the stage for organizing, helping, and teaching others. Our results show that emotions such as empathy, powerlessness, and frustration were vital to giving and receiving forms of care that facilitate digital activities. The findings also suggest that digital assistance is more prevalent in tightly‐knit marginalized communities with more trusting communication patterns.

Keywords:  digital inclusion; emotions; ethics of care; Internet; rural communities; urban communities



© Isabel Pavez, Teresa Correa, Catalina Farías. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.