Information practices of young activists in Rwanda

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Journal Article
Information Research, 2015, 20 (1)
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© the author, 2015. Introduction. This paper explores reasons why the information practices of a group of young Rwandan activists online differed from those of a similar group of young Australians, in particular, why they did not use the Internet to interact with people they did not already know. Method. The study uses abduction, a research method which is discovery-oriented. Data intended to shed light on the development of social capital through the use of information and communication technologies were collected in 2011 through a series of interviews and analyses of Websites and blogs. The data were supplemented in 2013 by data gathered from e-mail correspondence. Analysis. These data were systematically combined and matched against the theoretical positions of Chatman’s concept of the small world to make sense of what had been observed. Results. Young Rwandan activists can be seen to exist in four small worlds, each with its own norms. There are tensions among these norms so that the practices of the world of young activists are not developed. Conclusions. The small world nature of embodied social interactions may give rise to intense local information flows but may hinder engagement in globalised actions for social change.
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