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Book Launch

Book Talk | Connected in Isolation: Digital Privilege in Unsettled Times

04/24 Monday | 5pm

Join the Institute for Public Knowledge for a book talk on Connected in Isolation: Digital Privilege in Unsettled Times, with the author Eszter Hargittai in conversation with Paul DiMaggio and Eric Klinenberg.

What life during lockdown reveals about digital inequality.

The vast majority of people in wealthy, highly connected, or digitally privileged societies may have crossed the digital divide, but being online does not mean that everyone is equally connected—and digital inequality reflects experience both online and off. In Connected in Isolation Eszter Hargittai looks at how this digital disparity played out during the unprecedented isolation imposed in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic has permanently shifted how reliant we are upon online information, and the implications of Hargittai’s groundbreaking comparative research go far beyond the pandemic. Connected in Isolation informs and expands our understanding of digital media, including how they might mitigate or worsen existing social disparities; whom they empower or disenfranchise; and how we can identify and expand the skills people bring to them.


Eszter Hargittai is a Professor and holds the Chair in Internet Use & Society in the Department of Communication and Media Research at the University of Zurich where she heads the Web Use Project research group. See her CV for more details about current and past affiliations including teaching and service to institutions and fields of study. Hargittai’s research focuses on the social and policy implications of digital media with a particular interest in how differences in people’s Internet skills/digital literacy influence what they do online, and how these may translate to changes in life chances. Her work has received awards from the American Sociological Association, the International Communication Association, the National Communication Association, the Eastern Sociological Society, and the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference. In 2010, the International Communication Association (ICA) selected her to receive its Outstanding Young Scholar Award, in 2019, ICA elected her as a Fellow, an honor bestowed on at most 3% of its membership. In 2022, she was elected an External Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. 

Paul DiMaggio is Professor of Sociology at New York University with affiliate appointments in the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, the Stern School of Business, and the Center for Data Science.  He has written and taught about cultural policy and communications policy, and has published more than 125 scholarly papers and book chapters on such topics as the origins and consequences of cultural hierarchy in the United States, cultural and political polarization in the U.S., the role of social networks in economic exchange, the impact of network externalities on social inequality, and varieties of American nationalism.  Current research addresses Americans’ understandings of the relationship between science and religion, and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on attitudes toward diversity and immigration.

Eric Klinenberg is Helen Gould Shepard Professor of Social Science and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. He is the author of Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life (Crown, 2018), Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone (The Penguin Press, 2012), Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America’s Media (Metropolitan Books, 2007), and Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago (University of Chicago Press, 2002), as well as the editor of Cultural Production in a Digital Age, co-editor of Antidemocracy in America (Columbia University Press, 2019), and co-author, with Aziz Ansari, of the New York Times #1 bestseller Modern Romance (The Penguin Press, 2015). His scholarly work has been published in journals including the American Sociological Review, Theory and Society, and Ethnography, and he has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, and This American Life.

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