Digital citizenship and disability in the covid era

Georgia van Toorn*, Lloyd Cox

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The covid-19 crisis has accelerated automation and digitalization in many aspects of social life. Social distancing and lockdowns, combined with the imperative to preserve economic activity, have seen much work and education move online, while the digitalization of government services has intensified. These developments slowed the spread of covid-19 but their broader effects, both positive and negative, have been unevenly distributed. One group for whom covid-driven digitalization has been especially ambivalent is people with a disability. While remote forms of communication and work have afforded physical health protections to many disabled people, these same forms have had exclusionary effects that magnify pre-existing disadvantages and diminish citizenship rights. This article analyses this ambivalent dialectic and the politics of neoliberal digital citizenship with which it is enmeshed. We argue that digital citizenship needs to be decoupled from a constraining neoliberal rationality prioritizing ableist individual competition, techno-entrepreneurship and government cost-cutting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1249-1267
Number of pages19
JournalNew Media and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2024. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Covid-19
  • digital citizenship
  • digitalization
  • disability
  • neoliberalism
  • social exclusion


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