Our paper, entitled “A Sociotechnical Study of a Community-based Rewards Program: Insights on Building Social, Financial and Human Capital“, was accepted to CSCW 2018. Abstract:
Individual empowerment is defined as an increased sense of confidence and control over one’s life. Empowerment is critical in low-income communities, and can be facilitated through the development of social, financial and human capital. We present a qualitative study of a community program that seeks to empower low-income neighborhood residents through a mobile application that connects them to local resources. Our findings highlight how the application and offline socio-organizational mechanisms worked in tandem to create gateways for capital building—sparking connections (to people and opportunities) that residents leveraged with varying motivations and outcomes. We also discuss how the interplay of newly developed financial, social, and human capital contributed to residents’ sense of empowerment and impacted their families. We contribute to CSCW by extending an existing community informatics framework, characterizing the value of sociotechnical systems that holistically build social, financial, and human capital amongst neighborhood residents.