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A Critical Exploration of Contingent Workers' Training and Access to Information and Communication Technology

, University of Toronto , Canada

University of Toronto . Awarded


In the late 1990s, many Western governments introduced policy programs to make information and communication technology (ICT) accessible to all. More than a decade later, however, such universal access is far from a reality. Between 2002 and 2005, in response to a request from a group of contingent workers who felt excluded from effective access to ICT training, a university research group on contingency conducted an applied research project in the form of a series of basic ICT courses. This qualitative dissertation both critically examines the training process and treats it as a case study for exploring broader issues of exclusion and resistance in the context of access to ICT. Specifically, it explores: (1) the symptoms of exclusion as they relate to ICT, social capital, and the community; (2) possibilities for resistance that can alleviate the conditions of exclusion; (3) the assumptions, theories, knowledge construction, policy methods, and processes that underlie the symptoms of exclusion; and (4) alternative assumptions, strategies, and activities that offer possibilities for resistive action. The case study provided an environment in which exclusionary and resistive experiences with access to ICT and training were examined from the perspective of excluded contingent workers, as supported by a university research group. A key finding is that generational behaviour in the domestic sphere erects barriers that contribute to the silencing and exclusion of immigrant contingent women; these barriers then reinforce similar patterns of exclusion in institutionalized ICT training. Another major finding is the need for alleviating the barrier that limited English skills create for ICT learning; addressing this issue must be part of any recommendations for curricular change. Guided throughout by a critical approach that focuses on the concept of ruling relations, this dissertation marshals critical knowledge gained from below in support of change by policymakers, educators, and community practitioners.


Rawlings, G.E. A Critical Exploration of Contingent Workers' Training and Access to Information and Communication Technology. Ph.D. thesis, University of Toronto. Retrieved May 19, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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