UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Communication in a Vancouver social agency Chave, Dorothy Mary


This report is a study of communication between a range of groups that make up the "society’ of Alexandra Neighbourhood House, a member agency of the Greater Vancouver Community Chest and Council. The purpose of the study is to: 1) identify certain parts of this society as sub-cultural groups; 2) to analyse selected aspects of interaction as they characteristically take place within each group; 3) to compare these aspects of communication within the Neighbourhood House organization with interaction in other unrelated bureaucratic settings. The purpose has not included any attempt to evaluate the function of the agency in the context of the social welfare community. The main method of analysis in this report has been a comparative one in which eleven aspects of interaction have been drawn from a study of communication done by Keesing on elite groups in Samoa. For further comparative scope examples of interaction in community development projects in India have been used. Data for the research on the Neighbourhood House have come from the writer's experience as a caseworker at Alexandra Neighbourhood House during the years i960 and 1961. In that time interviews were held with representative persons from the sub-cultural groups. The findings include uncovering certain constellations of values that appear to be present in certain sub-groups in the society. The concept of 'value' has not been stringently worked out but rather what are called values in this report are the writer's opinion of the important elements, stated or implied, in the respondents' statements. No attempt has been made to assess the relative importance of the values within the groups concerned. Certain similarities and differences in the aspects of interaction in groups in the House and in the: non-Western societies compared have been brought out. The effect of imposed or 'foreign' elements in a society such as the introduction of persons who hold authority outside the traditional lines has also been compared. It was not possible in an initial study such as this to reach a full synthesis between the establishment of the groups as sub-cultures, the identification of characteristic modes of intra-group interaction and finally the type of inter group communication within the society. However, it is believed that the report does point to some sources of Inter group difficulty and misunderstanding.

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