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The internet, empowerment, and identity: an exploration of participation by refugee women in a Community Internet Project (CIP) in the United Kingdom (UK)

Siddiquee, Asiya and Kagan, Carolyn (2006) The internet, empowerment, and identity: an exploration of participation by refugee women in a Community Internet Project (CIP) in the United Kingdom (UK). Journal of community and applied social psychology, 16 (3). pp. 189-206. ISSN 1052-9284

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Abstract

This article considers the relationship between the Internet, empowerment, identity, and participation; and focuses on refugee women in the United Kingdom (UK) participating in a Community Internet Project (CIP) to learn Internet skills. Semi-structured interviews and a non-participant observation were conducted with 6 refugee women and the course tutor participating in the final session of the CIP. Thematic analysis of the interviews supplemented with findings from the observation, revealed outcomes associated with technological engagement and participation. Technological engagement outcomes included intermediate outcomes of maintaining links and re-building networks, and facilitating resettlement and integration; and empowerment and identity outcomes facilitating the maintenance and development of personal identities, and fostering psychological empowerment. Participation outcomes included the development of social identity and community narratives, and collective consciousness-raising. These findings are used to reflect on the theory of the social psychology of participation (Cambell and Jovchelovitch, 2000), by contextualising technological engagement within participatory processes. The article concludes by discussing individual agency within participation; and calls for further research into the utility of digital technologies in community participatory processes.

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