Exchanging cultural heritage knowledge, communicating cultures and participating in community through a virtual community of practice
Sammanfattning: Purpose: The reason behind this study comes from the numerous difficulties and challengesthat have affected promoting the cultural integration of Syrian immigrantcraftsmen and decreased their opportunities for practicing their crafts in Sweden.Thus, the main aim of this study is to explore these challenges that eased up theirintegration and also hindered entering the Swedish labor market from Syriancraftsmen’s experiences to provide potential solutions to real obstacles throughparticipating in an interactive online community of practice. These obstacles arenot identified yet, for that reason, this study aims to identify gaps to culturalintegration and practising professional work through involving online communitiesof practice central structural features and dimensions to overcome real obstacles inSweden. The focus will be on the concept of cultural integration embodied inexchanging cultural heritage handicrafts knowledge and skills by Syrian andSwedish craftsmen through interactive online communities to overcome realbarriers to cultural integration and practicing professional work in Sweden.Theory: This study follows the notion of the community of practice principles (Lave &Wenger, 1991) and Wenger’s (2000) social theory of learning. These theoriesstress the role of social practices and active participation of members in acommunity who share the same concerns as a means to promote knowledgeacquisition, which consequently leads to personal and professional development.Design based research is another theory adopted since this research aims toprovide design recommendation for the online community of practice platformsthat is based on participants' needs to overcome real barriers to culturalintegration and practising professional work in Sweden.Method: In-depth online interviews and online written questionnaireResults: Through exploring Syrian immigrants' craftsmen motives, activities and impacts ofutilizing interactive online communities to overcome real barriers to culturalintegration and practicing professional work in Sweden, the participants of thisstudy expressed the crucial role of online communities that can play in exchangingheritage knowledge by employing mutual learning and social learning practices.The results also showed that active participation in online communities canproduce positive effects on the cultural integration process since connectingcultures can be facilitated by social networks features such as locating relevantpeople, communicating through online forums, sharing heritage crafts andpersonal experiences, receiving reviews and feedback, and also receivingmulticultural projects offers. Furthermore, involving structural features anddimensions of a community of practice in an Interactive online community mightprovide substitutional mediums to overcome barriers that were identified asknowledge, skills, environmental and communication gaps to cultural integration,and also to practicing professional work in Sweden.
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