Paolo Gardois, Tony Ryan
Social networks play a major role in health promotion, influencing knowledge dissemination and the coordination of activities. This project studied a stroke awareness campaign for ethnic minorities to explore how networks influenced the campaign itself under different dimensions.
The project adopted a qualitative methodology. Interviews were conducted with main actors of the campaign (N = 17) and ethnographic observations of significant interactions recorded (N = 25). The most important themes were identified, and network maps were produced.
- actors in the campaign exchanged information mainly through short contacts, and the information exchanged generally did not reach the whole network;
- gatekeepers (e.g. community leaders and activists) were very important actors in the network;
- information and resources were often shared unsystematically and informally through the network;
- shared stories, narratives and anecdotes played a major role in the campaign;
- actors in the campaign often had to adopt specific strategies to make sense of and cope with unexpected or unknown situations;
- these characteristics were linked to weak central control on the campaign, and the lack of a global view by actors on the network and of shared context.