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date: 25 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

We conclude the Handbook of Digital Technology and Society by identifying topics that appear in multiple chapters, are more unique to some chapters, and that represent general themes across the material. Each of these is considered separately for the ESRC theme chapters and the non-ESRC chapters. In the ESRC theme chapters, cross-cutting research topics include digital divides and inequalities; data and digital literacy; governance, regulation, and legislation; and the roles and impacts of major platforms. Cross-cutting challenges include methods; theory development, testing, and evaluation; ethics; big data; and multi-platform/holistic studies. Gaps include policy implications, and digital culture. In the non-ESRC chapters, more cross-cutting themes include future research and methods; technology venues; relationships; content and creation; culture and everyday life; theory; and societal effects. More unique, these were digitization of self; managing digital experience; names for the digital/social era; ethics; user groups; civic issues; health, and positive effects. The chapter also shows how the non-ESRC chapters may be clustered together based on their shared themes and subthemes, identifying two general themes of more micro and more macro topics. The identification of both more and less common topics and themes can provide the basis for understanding the landscape of prior research, what areas need to be included in ongoing research, and what research areas might benefit from more attention. The chapter ends with some recommendations for such ongoing and future research in the rich, important, and challenging area of digital technology and society.

Keywords: cross-cutting challenges, cross-cutting themes, cross-cutting research, digital technology and society, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

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