Digital Access is not Binary: The 5'A's of Technology Access in the Philippines
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Online political participation has been presented as a possible solution to declininglevels of trust in traditional politics. However, the most marginalised communities areoften the least connected and participate least in digital citizenship programmes. Muchexisting literature rests on a binary understanding of citizens as being either connectedor unconnected. Progress is therefore often understood simply as a process of“connecting the unconnected.”This paper presents primary empirical research fromthe Philippines, which suggests that such binary understandings disguise more thanthey reveal. We argue that it is descriptively more accurate and more analytically usefulto recognise that multiple classes of technology access exist, which limit digital citizen-ship in multiple ways. Qualitative methods were used to learn from non‐users and theleast connected about the barriers to online civic participation that they experience.The 5'A's of Technology Access was employed as a framework to analyse those barriersand reveal the social and economic factors that they reflect, reproduce, and amplify.Findings suggest that nonbinary and nontechnical understandings of the barriers todigital inclusion are essential to any effective attempt to remove the remainingobstacles to genuinely inclusive digital citizenship.