Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 16 Issue 3 (May/June 2006), Pages 171-245

The internet, empowerment, and identity: an exploration of participation by refugee women in a Community Internet Project (CIP) in the United Kingdom (UK) (pages 189-206)


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 six 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 (Campbell & 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. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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