Non-aligned? Young non-users of social networking sites: a weberian approach


  • Barbara Barbosa Neves University of Toronto, Canada
  • Rita Rente Universidade de Lisboa



Jovens, Sites de Redes Sociais, Não utilização, Exclusão digital, tipo ideal


Responding to the dominant body of research on young people and their use of social networking sites, this article analyzes narratives of non-use. Drawing on 30 interviews with young adults, we explored meanings of voluntary exclusion of digital platforms that seem to be progressively embedded in the daily life of this cohort. Findings show that non-use is diverse and transient, being deeply connected to identity(ies) and social actions. As such, we identify four types of non-users: rejecters, resisters, surrogate users, and potential converts. This typology challenges the dichotomies present in the literature around use and non-use, access and non-access, and consumption and non-consumption. We suggest and discuss the sociological perspective and “ideal type” of Max Weber as a valuable analytical approach to deconstruct such dichotomies.

Author Biographies

Barbara Barbosa Neves, University of Toronto, Canada

Barbara Barbosa Neves is a Research Associate and Associate Director of TAGlab, University of Toronto. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Lisbon. She was also a Visiting Scholar at the University of Oslo. Dr. Neves’ research intersects the study of digital exclusion & inclusion, social capital, and aging.

Rita Rente, Universidade de Lisboa

Rita Rente is a graduate student at the University of Lisbon. She is also a research assistant at the eplanning lab (FCUL, University of Lisbon). Her work is based on a sociological approach to technology and urbanism.