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

Isabel Pavez*, Teresa Correa, Catalina Farías

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-285
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Inclusion
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the reviewers for their valuable comments and insights. The fieldwork was funded by the National Agency of Research and Development (ANID) in Chile, Fondecyt 1210740. Also, Isabel Pavez was supported by ANID through Fondecyt 11200039 and the Millennium Nucleus to Improve the Mental Health of Adolescents and Youths, IMHAY (grant NCS2021_081). Teresa Correa was supported by ANID through the Millennium Science Initiative Program (grants NCS2022_046 and NCS2022_065). Catalina Farías was supported by the Millennium Nucleus NUDOS (grant NCS2022_046).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the author(s); licensee Cogitatio Press (Lisbon, Portugal).


  • digital inclusion
  • emotions
  • ethics of care
  • Internet
  • rural communities
  • urban communities


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