Structuration, ICTs, and Community Work

Structuration, ICTs, and Community Work

Larry Stillman
Centre for Community Networking Research, Monash University

Randy Stoecker
Dept. of Sociology, University of Toledo, Ohio

Refereed Conference Paper, 1 Oct 2004, Monash Centre, Prato, Italy

Also published in the Conference Proceedings

This paper reports upon the outcomes of an action research project which took place with a network of neighbourhood houses (community-based organisations) in the Western Region of Melbourne, Australia. The region is an area of high social-economic need, and at the same time, contains a major growth corridor. Many small to medium sized-agencies do not have the resources to develop the people-centred information systems to realise the potential of technological infrastructure, despite considerable investment by centralised government agencies in electronic hardware. This lack of support compounds the social disadvantage for many in the population.

Our aims have been two-fold:

1) to engage community-based organisations, through participatory action research techniques, to develop information and knowledge management plans for an electronic community network to strengthen bridging and bonding links between welfare organisations and their client populations in community support, welfare and social development activity.

2) to integrate four theoretical and analytical frameworks: structuration theory, theories concerning the social construction of technology, feminist community development theory, and theories of participatory action research, in order to provide a new context for understanding how ICTs can be used with community-based organisations.


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