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The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration

No 2009:4:
Equal Participation of Unequal Groups via Internet: Interaction Pattern of Social Workers and Care Leavers

Mayeda Jamal

Abstract: This study examines the communication pattern between social workers and care leavers in a virtual setting. These groups are socially excluded and psychologically distant from each other. The role of the media in generating stereotypes that mitigate communication is examined. Internet is chosen as the medium of communication in this study to observe effects of lean medium of communication on interaction patterns of socially excluded groups. This study reveals to what extent participation can be achieved between two groups of unequal power in UK, (social workers and the people they provide these services to, i.e., service users), when interacting in a virtual setting. Findings show that Internet provides greater freedom of speech to socially excluded groups but power differentials observed in real-life setting remain unaltered. Potential of Negotiation strategies for overcoming barriers to communication and initiating processes for social change are discussed.

Keywords: Power; Inter-group Communication; social exclusion; Internet; Negotiations; (follow links to similar papers)

24 pages, February 4, 2009

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