SAGE Journal Articles
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Abstract: A symbolic-interpretive perspective as applied to the study of groups is concerned with understanding how group members use symbols and the effects of symbol usage on individual, relational, and collective processes and outcomes, as well as the manner in which groups and group dynamics themselves are products of such symbolic activity. After reviewing philosophical, theoretical, and methodological foundations of a symbolic-interpretive perspective, we offer a conceptual model and review some representative research that illuminates the nature of symbolic predispositions, practices, processes, and products in groups. We conclude by discussing some of the strengths and challenges of studying group dynamics from a symbolic-interpretive perspective.
Abstract: The current study investigates engagement activities in an online resource exchange community exploring elements such as sense of belonging, connectedness, and trust. CouchSurfing.com is an online cultural exchange community in which members from around the globe coordinate travel accommodations and organize gatherings with fellow members via a social media platform. Findings confirmed that members who have not met face-to-face with other members have a lower sense of belonging to the community than those who have. Increased attendance to gatherings was positively related to sense of belonging to the community, and hosting had a positive relationship with trust in the community. Additionally, CouchSurfers reported that they preferred to be contacted through personal e-mails rather than group e-mails, while those who reported an increased participation in gatherings found group e-mails to be useful.
Abstract: The article discusses some features of social work, broad community practice trends, and imperatives for political engagement in local communities in developing countries. Drawing on secondary data and the author’s observations and research on community development in developing countries, it addresses an important question: Do social workers practice in local communities generally, and particularly through political engagement? The analysis shows broad community practice trends in developing countries and argues that social workers and their profession are almost absent in local communities, and when they are so engaged, most of them do not engage politically. In view of local communities’ contexts and people’s deprived conditions, the imperatives for social workers to engage politically in community practice are discussed. These are as follows: adhering to values/principles-based social work practice with communities, making an entry and gaining acceptance, awareness-raising and capacity building, challenging exploitative and oppressive community power structures, and ensuring sustainable community development. In conclusion, it is argued that to effectively address these imperatives, social work may need to alter its non-political and non-religious neutral stand, where appropriate. In many situations, social workers need to focus on the profession’s fundamental values and principles and actively engage with local politics and power structures so as to improve the living conditions of people and local communities in developing countries.
Abstract: This article examines the scope and prospect for effective utilization of social capital in mitigating the consequences of natural disasters that hit coastal regions. The article concludes by identifying the role of social work education and practice in building social capital for sustainable disaster relief and management.