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Sisterhood at a distance: doing feminist support work online
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2098-871X
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8114-4705
2024 (English)In: Affilia, ISSN 0886-1099, E-ISSN 1552-3020, Vol. 39, no 2, p. 214-228Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study is to analyze the characteristics of feminist peer support in the context of online chat counseling. Based on 15 interviews with female lay supporters associated with a branch of the Swedish women's shelter movement targeting young women, we explore how the digital setting—characterized by distance and anonymity—affects the meaning and doing of feminist support. Our results show that core principles of feminist support—striving for equality and trust, the crafting of safe spaces, and sharing experiences—are all renegotiated and/or accentuated by the digital setting. The chat is experienced as enabling a more equal relationship and a high level of safety. The meaning of safety has largely shifted, however, from being associated with a feminist community to safety associated with solitude and distance. We further show a tension in the respondents’ understanding of shared experiences, stressing both the importance of situated knowledges and the value of not knowing who is seeking or offering support. By combining research and material on feminist support and online youth counseling, the article offers novel perspectives on feminist counseling and social work, the power dimensions of online counseling, and the virtual space as an arena for feminist activism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2024. Vol. 39, no 2, p. 214-228
Keywords [en]
online youth counseling, feminist peer support, digital social work, safe space, digital feminism
National Category
Gender Studies Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-211030DOI: 10.1177/08861099231181583ISI: 001016332900001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85163306997OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-211030DiVA, id: diva2:1776576
Available from: 2023-06-28 Created: 2023-06-28 Last updated: 2024-07-02Bibliographically approved

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Bäckström Olofsson, HannaGoicolea, Isabel

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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