Cultural Centrality and Information and Communication Technology among Canadian Youth


  • Victor Thiessen Dalhousie University
  • Dianne E Looker Mount Saint Vincent University



Computers, Internet, Racial Groups, First-Nations, Inequality


This paper examines the positions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis (FNIM) peoples and visible minorities as distances from the cultural “centre” of White European culture. It then assesses the relation of information and communication technology (ICT) to these locations among Canadian youth using three data sets: the 2001 Aboriginal Peoples Survey, the 2000 Youth in Transition Survey (older cohort) and its 2002 follow–up, and a 2004/2005 survey collected by the authors. Findings indicate that the idea of cultural centrality is useful in locating FNIM groups and visible minorities vis-à-vis the cultural centre and each other and highlighting the stratified heterogeneity of these groups. Access to, use of, and development of ICT skills tend to mirror the relative positions of these groups in terms of cultural centrality. Further, youth who retain close ties with traditional culture are less unlikely to develop facility with ICT.

Author Biographies

Victor Thiessen, Dalhousie University

Professor Emeritus Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology Dalhousie University

Dianne E Looker, Mount Saint Vincent University

Professor Canada Research Chair Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology Mount Saint Vincent University