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Coping with separation: Chinese seafarer-partners in cyberspace

Tang, Lijun 2007. Coping with separation: Chinese seafarer-partners in cyberspace. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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Abstract

This thesis examines a group of Chinese seafarer-partners' participation in a discussion website called Home of Chinese Seafarers. Specifically, it investigates the ways and extent to which participation in the site serves to ameliorate problems associated with separation and loneliness for seafarers-partners caused by the seafarers work patterns. The study utilised qualitative research methods. Online participant observation was conducted for a period in excess of two years and face to face and email interviews were carried out with seafarer-partner participants and the website managers. Web-based content from the site was also recorded and analysed. In analysing the data three central themes were developed: forms of participation, the production of friendship and the potential effect of participation upon the self. The findings suggest that participation in this particular website enables seafarer-partners to pool their available resources to provide each other with informational help, emotional support, and differing degrees of friendship. With these resources it appears that they are better equipped to combat the loneliness and isolation experienced as a result of their partners repeated prolonged absences. Their participation in the site also helps them to make sense of and validate their experiences and to gain a sense of security and certainty. As a result, seafarer-partners become more positive towards their lives and future, and make claims for improved well-being. The analysis of the data further reveals that seafarer-partners produce and reproduce a set of group norms and values within the website which promote understanding, supportive and self-sacrificing seafarers' wives/partners. This raises the issue of whether participating in the website is repressive or can be regarded as empowering.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
ISBN: 9781303209819
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2017 03:30
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/54640

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