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Communication Patterns Within Social Networks: A Case Study of Australian Women

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Abstract:

Based on the perception that “individual bonds to one another is the essence of society” (Fischer, 1982a, p. 2), this paper examines contemporary networks of friends: friendworks, of adult women in an Australian sea change community. Communication patterns are examined drawing on findings from a case study of 26 women aged 35-76 years. Among the case study participants, many have undertaken a ‘sea change’ as adults, which in most cases has led to a significant reconstruction of their friendworks. Location and lifestyle are identified as impacting factors on communication patterns with friends; face-to-face interactions are by far the most frequent and preferred method of communication among the participants. The landline telephone and internet are the main communication methods used to maintain friendships with distant loved ones, while the mobile phone is reported as the communication method employed the least. The infrequency of mobile phone use can be attributed to cost issues, highlighting a discrepancy between these women’s social and communication needs and the current Australian mobile phone policy

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