Social capital

Social capital

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Encyclopedia
Social capital is a sociological concept, which refers to connections within and between social network
Social network
A social network is a social structure made up of individuals called "nodes", which are tied by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige.Social...

s. The concept of social capital highlights the value of social relations and the role of cooperation and confidence to get collective or economic results. The term social capital is frequently used by different social sciences. It is a wide term, and that is why it can be defined accentuating different aspects depending on the perspective. In general terms, it could be said that social capital is the fruit of social relations, and consists of the expectative benefits derived from the preferential treatment and cooperation between individuals and groups.

Though there are a variety of related definitions, which have been described as "something of a cure-all" for the problems of modern society
Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

, they tend to share the core idea "that social network
Social network
A social network is a social structure made up of individuals called "nodes", which are tied by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige.Social...

s have value
Value theory
Value theory encompasses a range of approaches to understanding how, why and to what degree people should value things; whether the thing is a person, idea, object, or anything else. This investigation began in ancient philosophy, where it is called axiology or ethics. Early philosophical...

. Just as a screwdriver (physical capital
Physical capital
In economics, physical capital or just 'capital' refers to any already-manufactured asset that is applied in production, such as machinery, buildings, or vehicles. In economic theory, physical capital is one of the three primary factors of production, also known as inputs in the production function...

) or a university education (human capital
Human capital
Human capitalis the stock of competencies, knowledge and personality attributes embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value. It is the attributes gained by a worker through education and experience...

) can increase productivity (both individual and collective), so do social contacts affect the productivity of individuals and groups".

Background


L. J. Hanifan
L. J. Hanifan
Lyda Judson Hanifan is credited with introducing the concept of social capital. Robert Putnam in his book, Bowling Alone credits a 1916 paper by Hanifan as the first recorded instance of the term...

's 1916 article regarding local support for rural schools is one of the first occurrences of the term "social capital" in reference to social cohesion and personal investment in the community. In defining the concept, Hanifan contrasts social capital with material goods by defining it as:

"I do not refer to real estate, or to personal property or to cold cash, but rather to that in life which tends to make these tangible substances count for most in the daily lives of people, namely, goodwill, fellowship, mutual sympathy and social intercourse among a group of individuals and families who make up a social unit… If he may come into contact with his neighbor, and they with other neighbors, there will be an accumulation of social capital, which may immediately satisfy his social needs and which may bear a social potentiality sufficient to the substantial improvement of living conditions in the whole community. The community as a whole will benefit by the cooperation of all its parts, while the individual will find in his associations the advantages of the help, the sympathy, and the fellowship of his neighbors (pp. 130-131)."


Jane Jacobs
Jane Jacobs
Jane Jacobs, was an American-Canadian writer and activist with primary interest in communities and urban planning and decay. She is best known for The Death and Life of Great American Cities , a powerful critique of the urban renewal policies of the 1950s in the United States...

 used the term early in the 1960s. Although she did not explicitly define the term social capital her usage referred to the value of networks. Political scientist Robert Salisbury advanced the term as a critical component of interest group formation in his 1969 article "An Exchange Theory of Interest Groups" in the Midwest Journal of Political Science. Sociologist Pierre Bourdieu
Pierre Bourdieu
Pierre Bourdieu was a French sociologist, anthropologist, and philosopher.Starting from the role of economic capital for social positioning, Bourdieu pioneered investigative frameworks and terminologies such as cultural, social, and symbolic capital, and the concepts of habitus, field or location,...

 used the term in 1972 in his Outline of a Theory of Practice, and clarified the term some years later in contrast to cultural
Cultural capital
The term cultural capital refers to non-financial social assets; they may be educational or intellectual, which might promote social mobility beyond economic means....

, economic
Economic capital
-Finance and Economics:In financial services firms, economic capital can be thought of as the capital level shareholders would choose in absence of capital regulation....

, and symbolic capital
Symbolic capital
In sociology and anthropology, symbolic capital can be referred to as the resources available to an individual on the basis of honor, prestige or recognition, and functions as an authoritative embodiment of cultural value...

. Sociologists James Coleman, Barry Wellman
Barry Wellman
Barry Wellman, FRSC directs NetLab as the S.D. Clark Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. His areas of research are community sociology, the Internet, human-computer interaction and social structure, as manifested in social networks in communities and organizations...

 and Scot Wortley adopted Glenn Loury's
Glenn Loury
Glenn Cartman Loury is an American academic and author. He is the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor of Economics at Brown University.- Early years :...

 1977 definition in developing and popularising the concept. In the late 1990s the concept gained popularity, serving as the focus of a World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 research programme and the subject of several mainstream books, including Robert Putnam
Robert Putnam
Robert David Putnam is a political scientist and professor of public policy at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is also visiting professor and director of the Manchester Graduate Summer Programme in Social Change, University of Manchester...

's Bowling Alone
Bowling Alone
Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community is a book by Robert D. Putnam. It was originally a 1995 essay entitled Bowling Alone: America's Declining Social Capital.-Summary:...

and Putnam and Lewis Feldstein's Better Together.

The concept that underlies social capital has a much longer history; thinkers exploring the relation between associational life and democracy were using similar concepts regularly by the 19th century, drawing on the work of earlier writers such as James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

 (The Federalist Papers) and Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville was a French political thinker and historian best known for his Democracy in America and The Old Regime and the Revolution . In both of these works, he explored the effects of the rising equality of social conditions on the individual and the state in...

 (Democracy in America) to integrate concepts of social cohesion and connectedness into the pluralist tradition in American political science. John Dewey
John Dewey
John Dewey was an American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform. Dewey was an important early developer of the philosophy of pragmatism and one of the founders of functional psychology...

 may have made the first direct mainstream use of "social capital" in The School and Society in 1899, though he did not offer a definition.

The power of 'community governance' has been stressed by many philosophers from Antiquity to the 18th century, from Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 to Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

 and Edmund Burke
Edmund Burke
Edmund Burke PC was an Irish statesman, author, orator, political theorist and philosopher who, after moving to England, served for many years in the House of Commons of Great Britain as a member of the Whig party....

 (Bowles and Gintis, 2002).This vision was strongly criticised at the end of the 18th century, with the development of the idea of Homo Economicus and subsequently with 'rational choice theory'. Such a set of theories became dominant in the last centuries, but many thinkers questioned the complicated relationship between 'modern society' and the importance of 'old institutions', in particular family and traditional communities (Ferragina, 2010:75). The debate community versus modernization of society and individualism has been the most discussed topic among the fathers of sociology (Tönnies, 1887; Durkheim, 1893; Simmel
Simmel
Simmel can refer to:* Erich Simmel , German jurist and politician * Ernst Simmel , German physician and psychoanalyst * Georg Simmel , German sociologist...

, 1905; Weber
Weber
Weber is a surname of German origin, derived from the noun meaning "weaver". In some cases, following migration to English-speaking countries, it has been anglicised to the English surname 'Webber' or even 'Weaver'.Notable people with the surname include:...

,1946). They were convinced that industrialisation and urbanization were transforming social relationship in an irreversible way. They observed a breakdown of traditional bonds and the progressive development of anomie and alienation in society (Wilmott, 1986).
After Tönnies' and Weber works, reflection on social links in modern society continued with interesting contributions in the 1950s and in the 1960s, in particular 'The Mass Society Theory' (Bell, 1962; Nisbet, 1969; Stein, 1960; Whyte, 1956). They proposed themes similar to those of the founding fathers, with a more pessimistic emphasis on the development of society (Ferragina, 2010: 76). In the words of Stein (1960:1):“The price for maintaining a society that encourages cultural differentiation and experimentation is unquestionably the acceptance of a certain amount of disorganization on both the individual and social level.” All these reflections contributed remarkably to the development of the social capital concept in the following decades.
The appearance of the modern social capital conceptualization is a new way to look at this debate, keeping together the importance of community to build generalized trust and the same time, the importance of individual free choice, in order to create a more cohesive society (Ferragina, 2010). It is for this reason that social capital generated so much interest in the academic and political world (Rose, 2000).

Evaluating social capital


Though Bourdieu might agree with Coleman that social capital in the abstract is a neutral resource, his work tends to show how it can be used practically to produce or reproduce inequality, demonstrating for instance how people gain access to powerful positions through the direct and indirect employment of social connections. Robert Putnam has used the concept in a much more positive light: though he was at first careful to argue that social capital was a neutral term, stating “whether or not [the] shared are praiseworthy is, of course, entirely another matter”, his work on American society tends to frame social capital as a producer of "civic engagement" and also a broad societal measure of communal health. He also transforms social capital from a resource possessed by individuals to an attribute of collectives, focusing on norms and trust as producers of social capital to the exclusion of networks.

Mahyar Arefi identifies consensus building as a direct positive indicator of social capital. Consensus implies “shared interest” and agreement among various actors and stakeholders to induce collective action. Collective action is thus an indicator of increased social capital.

Edwards and Foley, as editors of a special edition of the American Behavioural Scientist on "Social Capital, Civil Society and Contemporary Democracy", raised two key issues in the study of social capital. First, social capital is not equally available to all, in much the same way that other forms of capital are differently available. Geographic and social isolation limit access to this resource. Second, not all social capital is created equally. The value of a specific source of social capital depends in no small part on the socio-economic position of the source with society. On top of this, Portes has identified four negative consequences of social capital: exclusion of outsiders; excess claims on group members; restrictions on individual freedom; and downward levelling norms. Here it is important to note the distinction between "bonding" and "bridging". There is currently no research which identifies the negative consequences of "bridging" social capital when in balance with its necessary antecedent, "bonding".

Finally, social capital is often linked to the success of democracy and political involvement. Robert D. Putnam, in his book Bowling Alone
Bowling Alone
Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community is a book by Robert D. Putnam. It was originally a 1995 essay entitled Bowling Alone: America's Declining Social Capital.-Summary:...

makes the argument that social capital is linked to the recent decline in American political participation.

Definitions, forms, and measurement


Social capital lends itself to multiple definitions, interpretations, and uses. David Halpern argues that the popularity of social capital for policymakers is linked to the concept's duality, coming because "it has a hard nosed economic feel while restating the importance of the social." For researchers, the term is popular partly due to the broad range of outcomes it can explain; the multiplicity of uses for social capital has led to a multiplicity of definitions. Social capital has been used at various times to explain superior managerial performance, improved performance of functionally diverse groups, the value derived from strategic alliances, and enhanced supply chain relations.
'A resource that actors derive from specific social structures and then use to pursue their interests; it is created by changes in the relationship among actors'; (Baker 1990, p. 619).

Early attempts to define social capital focused on the degree to which social capital as a resource should be used for public good or for the benefit of individuals. Putnam suggested that social capital would facilitate co-operation and mutually supportive relations in communities and nations and would therefore be a valuable means of combating many of the social disorders inherent in modern societies, for example crime. In contrast to those focussing on the individual benefit derived from the web of social relationships and ties individual actors find themselves in, attribute social capital to increased personal access to information and skill sets and enhanced power. According to this view, individuals could use social capital to further their own career prospects, rather than for the good of organisations.

In The Forms of Capital Pierre Bourdieu
Pierre Bourdieu
Pierre Bourdieu was a French sociologist, anthropologist, and philosopher.Starting from the role of economic capital for social positioning, Bourdieu pioneered investigative frameworks and terminologies such as cultural, social, and symbolic capital, and the concepts of habitus, field or location,...

 distinguishes between three forms of capital: economic capital
Capital (economics)
In economics, capital, capital goods, or real capital refers to already-produced durable goods used in production of goods or services. The capital goods are not significantly consumed, though they may depreciate in the production process...

, cultural capital
Cultural capital
The term cultural capital refers to non-financial social assets; they may be educational or intellectual, which might promote social mobility beyond economic means....

 and social capital. He defines social capital as "the aggregate of the actual or potential resources which are linked to possession of a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition." His treatment of the concept is instrumental, focusing on the advantages to possessors of social capital and the “deliberate construction of sociability for the purpose of creating this resource.”

James Coleman defined social capital functionally as “a variety of entities with two elements in common: they all consist of some aspect of social structure, and they facilitate certain actions of actors...within the structure”—that is, social capital is anything that facilitates individual or collective action, generated by networks of relationships, reciprocity, trust, and social norms. In Coleman's conception, social capital is a neutral resource that facilitates any manner of action, but whether society is better off as a result depends entirely on the individual uses to which it is put.

According to Robert Putnam, social capital "refers to the collective value of all 'social network
Social network
A social network is a social structure made up of individuals called "nodes", which are tied by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige.Social...

s' and the inclinations that arise from these networks to do things for each other." According to Putnam and his followers, social capital is a key component to building and maintaining democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

. Putnam says that social capital is declining in the United States. This is seen in lower levels of trust in government and lower levels of civic participation. Putnam also says that television and urban sprawl have had a significant role in making America far less 'connected'. Putnam believes that social capital can be measured by the amount of trust and "reciprocity" in a community or between individuals.

Nan Lin
Nan Lin
Nan Lin is the Oscar L. Tang Family Professor of Sociology of the Trinity College, Duke University. He is most notable for his research and writing on social networks and social capital.-Biography:...

's concept of social capital has a more individualistic approach: "Investment in social relations with expected returns in the marketplace." This may subsume the concepts of some others such as Bourdieu, Flap and Eriksson.

Newton (1997) considered social capital as subjective phenomenon formed by values and attitudes which influence interactions.
In "Social Capital and Development: The Coming Agenda," Francis Fukuyama
Francis Fukuyama
Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama is an American political scientist, political economist, and author. He is a Senior Fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford. Before that he served as a professor and director of the International Development program at the School of...

 points out that there isn't an agreed definition of social capital, so he explains it as "shared norms or values that promote social cooperation, instantiated in actual social relationships" (Fukuyama, 27), and uses this definition throughout this paper. He argues that social capital is a necessary precondition for successful development, but a strong rule of law and basic political institutions are necessary to build social capital. He believes that a strong social capital is necessary for a strong democracy and strong economic growth. Familism is a major problem of trust because it fosters a two-tiered moral system, in which a person must favor the opinions of family members. Fukuyama believes that bridging social capital (a term coined by Putnam in Bowling Alone), is essential for a strong social capital because a broader radius of trust will enable connections across borders of all sorts and serve as a basis for organizations. Although he points out many problems and possible solutions in his paper, he does admit that there is still much to be done to build a strong social capital.

The Social Capital Foundation (TSCF) suggested that social capital should not be mixed up with its manifestations. While for example social capital is often understood as the networks that a person possesses and that he/she may use in a social integration purpose, it is more the disposition to create, maintain and develop such networks that constitutes real social capital. Similarly, civic engagement is a manifestation of social capital but not social capital itself. In this definition, social capital is a collective mental disposition close to the spirit of community.

Nahapiet and Ghoshal in their examination of the role of social capital in the creation of intellectual capital, suggest that social capital should be considered in terms of three clusters: structural, relational, and cognitive. Carlos García Timón describes that the structural dimensions of social capital relate to an individual ability to make weak and strong ties to others within a system. This dimension focuses on the advantages derived from the configuration of an actor's, either individual or collective, network. The differences between weak and strong ties are explained by Granovetter. The relational dimension focuses on the character of the connection between individuals. This is best characterized through trust of others and their cooperation and the identification an individual has within a network. Hazleton and Kennan added a third angle, that of communication. Communication is needed to access and use social capital through exchanging information, identifying problems and solutions, and managing conflict. According to Boisot
Max Boisot
Max Henri Boisot was Professor of Strategic Management at the ESADE business school in Barcelona, Associate Fellow at Templeton College, University of Oxford, and Senior Associate at the Judge Institute of Management Studies at the University of Cambridge.He was also a research fellow at the Sol...

 and Boland and Tenkasi, meaningful communication requires at least some sharing context between the parties to such exchange. The cognitive dimension focusses on the shared meaning and understanding that individuals or groups have with one another.

A network-based conception can also be used for characterizing the social capital of collectivities (such as organizations or business clusters).

Social capital: a new concept from an old idea


The modern emergence of social capital concept renewed the academic interest for an old debate in social science: the relationship between trust, social networks and the development of modern industrial society. Social Capital Theory gained importance through the integration of classical sociological theory with the description of an intangible form of capital. In this way the classical definition of capital has been overcome allowing researchers to tackle issues in a new manner (Ferragina, 2010:73).
Through the social capital concept researchers have tried to propose a synthesis between the value contained in the communitarian approaches and individualism professed by the 'rational choice theory.' Social capital can only be generated collectively thanks to the presence of communities and social networks, but individuals and groups can use it at the same time. Individuals can exploit social capital of their networks to achieve private objectives and groups can use it to enforce a certain set of norms or behaviors. In this sense, social capital is generated collectively but it can also be used individually, bridging the dichotomized approach 'communitarianism' versus 'individualism' (Ferragina, 2010:75).

Definitional issues


The term "capital
Capital (economics)
In economics, capital, capital goods, or real capital refers to already-produced durable goods used in production of goods or services. The capital goods are not significantly consumed, though they may depreciate in the production process...

" is used by analogy with other forms of economic capital, as social capital is argued to have similar (although less measurable) benefits. However, the analogy with capital is misleading to the extent that, unlike traditional forms of capital, social capital is not depleted by use, but in fact depleted by non-use ("use it or lose it"). In this respect, it is similar to the now well-established economic concept of human capital
Human capital
Human capitalis the stock of competencies, knowledge and personality attributes embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value. It is the attributes gained by a worker through education and experience...

.

Social Capital is also distinguished from the economic theory Social Capitalism
Social capitalism
Social capitalism , as a theory or political or philosophical stance, challenges the idea that the goals of socialism and the existing system of capitalism are inherently antagonistic. The essence of social capitalism is that markets work best and output is maximized through sound social...

. Social Capitalism as a theory challenges the idea that Socialism and Capitalism are mutually exclusive. Social Capitalism posits that a strong social support network for the poor enhances capital output. By decreasing poverty, capital market participation is enlarged.

Sub-types


In his pioneering study, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (Simon & Schuster, 2000), Harvard political scientist Robert D. Putnam wrote: "Henry Ward Beecher's
Henry Ward Beecher
Henry Ward Beecher was a prominent Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer, abolitionist, and speaker in the mid to late 19th century...

 advice a century ago to 'multiply picnics' is not entirely ridiculous today. We should do this, ironically, not because it will be good for America — though it will be — but because it will be good for us." Writing before the proliferation of the internet, Putnam claims to have found an overall decline in social capital (really civic engagement) in America over the past fifty years, a trend that may have significant implications for American society.

Putnam speaks of two main components of the concept: bonding social capital and bridging social capital, the creation of which Putnam credits to Ross Gittel and Avis Vidal. Bonding refers to the value assigned to social networks between homogeneous groups of people and Bridging refers to that of social networks between socially heterogeneous groups. Typical examples are that criminal gangs create bonding social capital, while choir
Choir
A choir, chorale or chorus is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform.A body of singers who perform together as a group is called a choir or chorus...

s and bowling clubs (hence the title, as Putnam lamented their decline) create bridging social capital. Bridging social capital is argued to have a host of other benefits for societies, governments, individuals, and communities; Putnam likes to note that joining an organization cuts in half an individual's chance of dying within the next year.

The distinction is useful in highlighting how social capital may not always be beneficial for society as a whole (though it is always an asset for those individuals and groups involved). Horizontal networks of individual citizens and groups that enhance community productivity and cohesion are said to be positive social capital assets whereas self-serving exclusive gangs and hierarchical patronage systems that operate at cross purposes to societal interests can be thought of as negative social capital burdens on society.

Social capital development on the internet via social networking websites such as Facebook
Facebook
Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. , Facebook has more than 800 million active users. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, add other users as...

 or Myspace
Myspace
Myspace is a social networking service owned by Specific Media LLC and pop star Justin Timberlake. Myspace launched in August 2003 and is headquartered in Beverly Hills, California. In August 2011, Myspace had 33.1 million unique U.S. visitors....

 tends to be bridging capital according to one study, though "virtual" social capital is a new area of research.

There are two other sub-sources of social capital. These are consummatory, or a behavior that is made up of actions that fulfill a basis of doing what is inherent, and instrumental, or behavior that is taught through ones surroundings over time. Two examples of consummatory social capital are value interjection and solidarity. Value interjection pertains to be a person or community that fulfills obligations such as paying bills on time, philanthropy, and following the rules of society. People that live their life this way feel that these are norms of society and are able to live their lives free of worry for their credit, children, and receive charity if needed. Coleman goes on to say that that when people live in this way and benefit from this type of social capital, individuals in the society are able to rest assured that their belongings and family will be safe.

The second form of consummatory social capital dates back to the writings of Karl Marx, a German philosopher and sociologist from the 19th century, who wrote about solidarity. The main focus of the study of Karl Marx was the working class of the Industrial Revolution. Marx analyzed that these workers banded together and worked together in order to support each other for the benefit of the group. This banding together was an adaptation to the immediate time as opposed to a trait that was installed in them throughout their youth. As another example, Coleman states that this type of social capital is the type that brings individuals to stand up for what they believe in, and even die for it, in the face of adversity.

The second of these two other sub-sources of social capital is that of instrumental social capital. The basis of the category of social capital is that an individual who donates his or resources not because he is seeking direct repayment from the recipient, but because they are part of the same social structure. By his or her donation, the individual might not see a direct repayment, but, most commonly, they will be held by the society in greater honor. The best example of this, and the one that Portes mentions, is the donation of a scholarship to a member of the same ethnic group. The donor is not freely giving up his resources to be directly repaid by the recipient, but, as stated above, the honor of the community. With this in mind, the recipient might not know the benefactor personally, but he or she prospers on the sole factor that he or she is a member of the same social group.

Measurement


There is no widely held consensus on how to measure social capital, which has become a debate in itself: why refer to this phenomenon as 'capital' if there is no true way to measure it? While one can usually intuitively sense the level/amount of social capital present in a given relationship (regardless of type or scale), quantitative measuring has proven somewhat complicated. This has resulted in different metrics for different functions. In measuring political social capital, it is common to take the sum of society’s membership of its groups. Groups with higher membership (such as political parties
Political Parties
Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy is a book by sociologist Robert Michels, published in 1911 , and first introducing the concept of iron law of oligarchy...

) contribute more to the amount of capital than groups with lower membership, although many groups with low membership (such as communities) still add up to be significant. While it may seem that this is limited by population, this need not be the case as people join multiple groups. In a study done by Yankee City, a community of 17,000 people was found to have over 22,000 different groups.

Many studies measure social capital by asking the question: “do you trust the others?”. Other researches analyse the participation in voluntary associations or civic activities.

Knack and Keefer (1996) measured econometrically correlations between confidence and civic cooperation norms, with economic growth in a big group of countries. They found that confidence and civic cooperation have a great impact in economic growth, and that in less polarized societies in terms of inequality and ethnic differences, social capital is bigger.

Narayan and Pritchet (1997) made a research to see the associativity degree and economic performance in rural homes of Tanzania. They saw that even in high poverty indexes, families with higher levels of incomes had more participation in collective organizations. The social capital they accumulated because of this participation had individual benefits for them, and created collective benefits through different routes, like for example:
- their agricultural practices were better than those of the families without participation (they had more information about agrochemicals, fertilizers and seeds),
- they had more information about the market,
- they were prepared to take more risks, because being part of a social network made them feel more protected,
- they had an influence on the improvement of public services, showing a bigger level of participation in schools,
- they cooperated more in the municipality level.

The level of cohesion of a group also affects its social capital. However, there is no one quantitative way of determining the level of cohesiveness, but rather a collection of social network models that researchers have used over the decades to operationalize social capital. One of the dominant methods is Ronald Burt's constraint measure, which taps into the role of tie strength and group cohesion. Another network based model is network transitivity.

How a group relates to the rest of society also affects social capital, but in a different manner. Strong internal ties can in some cases weaken the group’s perceived capital in the eyes of the general public, as in cases where the group is geared towards crime, distrust, intolerance, violence or hatred towards other. The Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan, often abbreviated KKK and informally known as the Klan, is the name of three distinct past and present far-right organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically...

 and the Mafia
Mafia
The Mafia is a criminal syndicate that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in Sicily, Italy. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct, and whose common enterprise is protection racketeering...

 are examples of these kinds of organizations.

Sociologists Carl L. Bankston
Carl L. Bankston
Carl L. Bankston III is an American sociologist and author. He is best known for his work on immigration to the United States, particularly on the adaptation of Vietnamese American immigrants, and for his work on ethnicity, social capital, sociology of religion and the sociology of...

 and Min Zhou
Min Zhou
Min Zhou , is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles and is the founding chair of the University's Department of Asian American Studies. Professor Zhou has worked with Carl L...

 have argued that one of the reasons social capital is so difficult to measure is that it is neither an individual-level nor a group-level phenomenon, but one that emerges across levels of analysis as individuals participate in groups. They argue that the metaphor of "capital" may be misleading because unlike financial capital, which is a resource held by an individual, the benefits of forms of social organization are not held by actors, but are results of the participation of actors in advantageously organized groups.

Relation with civil society


A number of authors give definitions of civil society that refer to voluntary associations and organisations outside the market and state. This definition is very close to that of the third sector, which consists of "private organisations that are formed and sustained by groups of people acting voluntarily and without seeking personal profit to provide benefits for themselves or for others". According to such authors as Walzer, Alessandrini, Newtown, Stolle and Rochon, Foley and Edwards, and Walters, it is through civil society, or more accurately, the third sector, that individuals are able to establish and maintain relational networks. These voluntary associations also connect people with each other, build trust and reciprocity through informal, loosely structured associations, and consolidate society through altruism without obligation. It is "this range of activities, services and associations produced by... civil society" that constitutes the sources of social capital.

If civil society, then, is taken to be synonymous with the third sector then the question it seems is not 'how important is social capital to the production of a civil society?' but 'how important is civil society to the production of social capital?'. Not only have the authors above documented how civil society produces sources of social capital, but in Lyons work "Third Sector", social capital does not appear in any guise under either the factors that enable or those that stimulate the growth of the third sector, and Onyx describes how social capital depends on an already functioning community.

The idea that creating social capital (i.e., creating networks) will strengthen civil society underlies current Australian social policy aimed at bridging deepening social divisions. The goal is to reintegrate those marginalised from the rewards of the economic system into "the community". However, according to Onyx (2000), while the explicit aim of this policy is inclusion, its effects are exclusionary.

Foley and Edwards believe that "political systems...are important determinants of both the character of civil society and of the uses to which whatever social capital exists might be put". Alessandrini agrees, saying, "in Australia in particular, neo-liberalism has been recast as economic rationalism and identified by several theorists and commentators as a danger to society at large because of the use to which they are putting social capital to work".

The resurgence of interest in "social capital" as a remedy for the cause of today’s social problems draws directly on the assumption that these problems lie in the weakening of civil society. However this ignores the arguments of many theorists who believe that social capital leads to exclusion rather than to a stronger civil society. In international development, Ben Fine
Ben Fine
For the New York Times reporter see Benjamin FineBen Fine is Professor of Economics at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies. He is the author of a number of works in the broad tradition of Marxist economics, and has made contributions on economic imperialism and social...

 and John Harriss have been heavily critical of the inappropriate adoption of social capital as a supposed panacea (promoting civil society organisations and NGOs, for example, as agents of development) for the inequalities generated by neo liberal economic development. This leads to controversy as to the role of state institutions in the promotion of social capital.
An abundance of social capital is seen as being almost a necessary condition for modern liberal democracy
Liberal democracy
Liberal democracy, also known as constitutional democracy, is a common form of representative democracy. According to the principles of liberal democracy, elections should be free and fair, and the political process should be competitive...

. A low level of social capital leads to an excessively rigid and unresponsive political system and high levels of corruption, in the political system and in the region as a whole. Formal public institutions require social capital in order to function properly, and while it is possible to have too much social capital (resulting in rapid changes and excessive regulation), it is decidedly worse to have too little.

Kathleen Dowley and Brian Silver published an article entitled "Social Capital, Ethnicity and Support for Democracy in the Post-Communist States". This article found that in post-communist states, higher levels of social capital did not equate to higher levels of democracy. However, higher levels of social capital led to higher support for democracy.

A number of intellectuals in developing countries have argued that the idea of social capital, particularly when connected to certain ideas about civil society, is deeply implicated in contemporary modes of donor and NGO driven imperialism and that it functions, primarily, to blame the poor for their condition.

The concept of social capital in a Chinese social context has been closely linked with the concept of guanxi
Guanxi
Guanxi describes the basic dynamic in personalized networks of influence, and is a central idea in Chinese society. In Western media, the pinyin romanization of this Chinese word is becoming more widely used instead of the two common translations—"connections" and "relationships"—as neither of...

.

An interesting attempt to measure social capital spearheaded by Corporate Alliance in the English speaking market segment of the United States of America and Xentrum through the Latin American Chamber of Commerce in Utah on the Spanish speaking population of the same country, involves the quantity, quality and strength of an individual social capital. With the assistance of software applications and web based relationship oriented systems such as LinkedIn, these kinds of organizations are expected to provide its members with a way to keep track of the number of their relationships, meetings designed to boost the strength of each relationship using group dynamics, executive retreats and networking events as well as training in how to reach out to higher circles of influential people.

Social capital and women's engagement with politics


See also Gender and social capital
Gender and social capital
Social capital is defined as the trust, norms and networks which allow people to co-ordinate actions and achieve their aims, and is often seen as the missing link in development; as social networks facilitate access to resources and protect the commons, whilst co-operation makes markets work more...



There are many factors that drive volume towards the ballot box, including education, employment, civil skills, and time. Careful evaluation of these fundamental factors often suggests that women do not vote at similar levels as men. However the gap between women and men voter turnout is diminishing and in some cases women are becoming more prevalent at the ballot box than their male counterparts. Recent research on social capital is now serving as an explanation for this change.

Social capital offers a wealth of resources and networks that facilitate political engagement. Since social capital is readily available no matter the type of community, it is able to override more traditional queues for political engagement (e.g., education, employment, civil skills, etc.…).

There are unique ways in which women organize. These differences from men make social capital more personable and impressionable to women audiences thus creating a stronger presence in regards to political engagement. A few examples of these characteristics are:
  • Women's informal and formal networks tend toward care work that is often considered apolitical.
  • Women are also more likely to engage in local politics and social movement activities than in traditional forums focused on national politics.
  • Women are more likely to organize themselves in less hierarchical ways and to focus on creating consensus.


The often informal nature of female social capital allows women to politicize apolitical environments without conforming to masculine standards, thus keeping this activity off the radar. These differences are hard to recognize within the discourse of political engagement and may explain why social capital has not been considered as a tool for female political engagement until as of late.

Effects on health


A growing body of research has found that the presence of social capital through social networks and communities has a protective quality on health. Social capital affects health risk behavior in the sense that individuals who are embedded in a network or community rich in support, social trust, information, and norms, have resources that help achieve health goals. For example, a person who is sick with cancer may receive information, money, or moral support he or she needs to endure treatment and recover. Social capital also encourages social trust and membership. These factors can discourage individuals from engaging in risky health behaviors such as smoking and binge drinking.

Inversely, a lack of social capital can impair health. For example, results from a survey given to 13-18 year old students in Sweden showed that low social capital and low social trust are associated with higher rates of psychosomatic symptoms, musculoskeletal pain, and depression. Additionally, negative social capital can detract from health. Although there are only a few studies that assess social capital in criminalized populations, there is information that suggests that social capital does have a negative effect in broken communities. Deviant behavior is encouraged by deviant peers via favorable definitions and learning opportunities provided by network-based norms. However in these same communities, an adjustment of norms (i.e. deviant peers being replaced by positive role models) can pose a positive effect.

Effects of the Internet


Similar to watching the news and keeping abreast of current events, the use of the Internet can have a positive effect on social capital. The rapid growth of social networking sites such as Facebook
Facebook
Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. , Facebook has more than 800 million active users. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, add other users as...

 and Myspace
Myspace
Myspace is a social networking service owned by Specific Media LLC and pop star Justin Timberlake. Myspace launched in August 2003 and is headquartered in Beverly Hills, California. In August 2011, Myspace had 33.1 million unique U.S. visitors....

 suggests that individuals are creating a virtual-network consisting of both bonding and bridging social capital. Unlike face to face interaction, people can instantly connect with others in a targeted fashion by placing specific parameters with internet use. This means that individuals can selectively connect with others based on ascertained interests, and backgrounds. Facebook
Facebook
Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. , Facebook has more than 800 million active users. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, add other users as...

 is currently the most popular social networking site and touts many advantages to its users including serving as a "social lubricant" for individuals who otherwise have difficulties forming and maintaining both strong and weak ties with others.

This argument continues, although the preponderance of evidence shows a positive association between social capital and the internet. Critics of virtual communities believe that the Internet replaces our strong bonds with online "weak-ties" or with socially empty interactions with the technology itself. Others fear that the Internet can create a world of "narcissism of similarity," where sociability is reduced to interactions between those that are similar in terms of ideology, race, or gender. A few articles suggest that technologically-based interactions has a negative relationship with social capital by displacing time spent engaging in geographical/ in-person social activities. However, the consensus of research shows that the more people spend online the more in-person contact they have, thus positively enhancing social capital.

Effects on educational achievement


Coleman and Hoffer collected quantitative data of 28,000 students in total 1,015 public, Catholic and other private high schools in America from the 7 years' period from 1980 to 1987. It was found from this longitudinal research that social capital in students' families and communities attributed to the much lower dropout rates in Catholic school
Catholic school
Catholic schools are maintained parochial schools or education ministries of the Catholic Church. the Church operates the world's largest non-governmental school system...

s compared with the higher rates in public.

Teachman et al. further develop the family structure indicator suggested by Coleman. They criticise Coleman, who used only the number of parents present in the family, neglected the unseen effect of more discrete dimensions such as stepparents' and different types of single-parent families. They take into account of a detailed counting of family structure, not only with two biological parents or stepparent families, but also with types of single-parent families with each other (mother-only, father-only, never-married, and other). They also contribute to the literature by measuring parent-child interaction by the indicators of how often parents and children discuss school-related activities.

Morgan and Sorensen directly challenge Coleman for his lacking of an explicit mechanism to explain why Catholic schools students perform better than public school students on standardised tests of achievement. Researching students in Catholic schools and public schools again, they propose two comparable models of social capital effect on mathematic learning. One is on Catholic schools as norm-enforcing schools whereas another is on public schools as horizon-expanding schools. It is found that while social capital can bring about positive effect of maintaining an encompassing functional community in norm-enforcing schools, it also brings about the negative consequence of excessive monitoring. Creativity and exceptional achievement would be repressed as a result. Whereas in horizon expanding school, social closure is found to be negative for student's mathematic achievement. These schools explore a different type of social capital, such as information about opportunities in the extended social networks of parents and other adults. The consequence is that more learning is fostered than norm-enforcing Catholic school students. In sum, Morgan and Sorensen's (1999) study implies that social capital is contextualised, one kind of social capital may be positive in this setting but is not necessarily still positive in another setting.

In their journal article "Beyond social capital: Spatial dynamics of collective efficacy for children", Sampson et al. stress the normative or goal-directed dimension of social capital. They claim, "resources or networks alone (e.g. voluntary associations, friendship ties, organisational density) are neutral--- they may or may not be effective mechanism for achieving intended effect"

Marjoribanks and Kwok conducted a survey in Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 secondary schools with 387 fourteen-year-old students with an aim to analyse female and male adolescents differential educational achievement by using social capital as the main analytic tool. In that research, social capital is approved of its different effects upon different genders. In his thesis "New Arrival Students in Hong Kong: Adaptation and School Performance", Hei Hang Hayes Tang argues that adaptation is a process of activation and accumulation of (cultural and social) capitals. The research findings show that supportive networks is the key determinant differentiating the divergent adaptation pathways. Supportive networks, as a form of social capital, is necessary for activating the cultural capital the newly arrived students possessed. The amount of accumulated capital is also relevant to further advancement in the ongoing adaptation process.

Min Zhou
Min Zhou
Min Zhou , is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles and is the founding chair of the University's Department of Asian American Studies. Professor Zhou has worked with Carl L...

 and Carl L. Bankston
Carl L. Bankston
Carl L. Bankston III is an American sociologist and author. He is best known for his work on immigration to the United States, particularly on the adaptation of Vietnamese American immigrants, and for his work on ethnicity, social capital, sociology of religion and the sociology of...

 in their study of a Vietnamese
Vietnamese people
The Vietnamese people are an ethnic group originating from present-day northern Vietnam and southern China. They are the majority ethnic group of Vietnam, comprising 86% of the population as of the 1999 census, and are officially known as Kinh to distinguish them from other ethnic groups in Vietnam...

 community in New Orleans find that preserving traditional ethnic values enable immigrants to integrate socially and to maintain solidarity in an ethnic community. Ethnic solidarity is especially important in the context where immigrants just arrive in the host society. In her article "Social Capital in Chinatown", Zhou examines how the process of adaptation of young Chinese American
Chinese American
Chinese Americans represent Americans of Chinese descent. Chinese Americans constitute one group of overseas Chinese and also a subgroup of East Asian Americans, which is further a subgroup of Asian Americans...

s is affected by tangible forms of social relations between the community, immigrant families, and the younger generations. Chinatown serves as the basis of social capital that facilitates the accommodation of immigrant children in the expected directions. Ethnic support provides impetus to academic success. Furthermore maintenance of literacy in native language also provides a form of social capital that contributes positively to academic achievement. Stanton-Salazar and Dornbusch found that bilingual students were more likely to obtain the necessary forms of institutional support to advance their school performance and their life chances.

Putnam (2000) mentions in his book Bowling Alone, "Child development
Child development
Child development stages describe theoretical milestones of child development. Many stage models of development have been proposed, used as working concepts and in some cases asserted as nativist theories....

 is powerfully shaped by social capital" and continues "presence of social capital has been linked to various positive outcomes, particularly in education". According to his book, these positive outcomes are the result of parents' social capital in a community. In states where there is a high social capital, there is also a high education performance. The similarity of these states is that parents were more associated with their children's education. Teachers have reported that when the parents participate more in their children's education and school life, it lowers levels of misbehavior, such as bringing weapons to school, engaging in physical violence, unauthorized absence, and being generally apathetic about education. Borrowing Coleman's quotation from Putnam's book, Coleman once mentioned we cannot understate "the importance of the embeddedness of young persons in the enclaves of adults most proximate to them, first and most prominent the family and second, a surrounding community of adults".

In geography


In order to understand social capital as a subject in geography, one must look at it in a sense of space, place, and territory. In its relationship, the tenants of geography relate to the ideas of social capital in the family, community, and in the use of social networks. The biggest advocate for seeing social capital as a geographical subject was American economist and political scientist, Robert Putnam. His main argument for classifying social capital as a geographical concept is that the relationships of people is shaped and molded by the areas in which they live. There are many areas in which social capital can be defined by the theories and practices. Anthony Giddens
Anthony Giddens
Anthony Giddens, Baron Giddens is a British sociologist who is known for his theory of structuration and his holistic view of modern societies. He is considered to be one of the most prominent modern contributors in the field of sociology, the author of at least 34 books, published in at least 29...

 developed a theory in 1984 in which he relates social structures and the actions that they produce. In his studies he does not look at the individual participants of these structures, but how the structures and the social connections that stem from them are diffused over space. If this is the case, the continuous change in social structures could bring about a change in social capital, which can cause changes in community atmosphere. If an area is plagued by social organizations whose goals are to revolt against social norms, such as gangs, it can cause a negative social capital for the area causing those who disagreed with said organizations to relocate thus taking their positive social capital to a different space than the negative.

Another area where social capital can be seen as an area of study in geography is through the analysis of participation in volunteerism and its support of different governments. One area to look into with this is through those who participate in social organizations. People that participate are of different races, ages, and economic status. With these in mind, variances of the space in which these different demographics may vary causing a difference in involvement among areas. Secondly, there are different social programs for different areas based on economic situation. A governmental organization would not place a welfare center in a wealthier neighborhood where it would have very limited support to the community, as it is not needed. Thirdly, social capital can be affected by the participation of individuals of a certain area based on the type of institutions that are placed there. Mohan supports this with the argument of J. Fox in his paper Decentralization and Rural Development in Mexico, which states “structures of local governance in turn influence the capacity of grassroots communities to influence social investments." With this theory, if the involvement of a government in specific areas raises the involvement of individuals in social organizations and/or communities, this will in turn raise the social capital for that area. Since every area is different, the government takes that into consideration and will provide different areas with different institutions to fit their needs thus there will be different changes in social capital in different areas.

Negative social capital


It has been noted that social capital may be not always invested towards positive ends. An example of the complexities of the effects of social capital is violent or criminal gang
Gang
A gang is a group of people who, through the organization, formation, and establishment of an assemblage, share a common identity. In current usage it typically denotes a criminal organization or else a criminal affiliation. In early usage, the word gang referred to a group of workmen...

 activity that is encouraged through the strengthening of intra-group relationships. (Bonding social capital) This iterates the importance of distinguishing between bridging social capital as opposed to the more easily accomplished bonding of social capital. In the case of deleterious consequences of social capital, it is a disproportionate amount of bonding vis-à-vis bridging.

Without "bridging" social capital, "bonding" groups can become isolated and disenfranchised from the rest of society and, most importantly, from groups with which bridging must occur in order to denote an "increase" in social capital. Bonding social capital is a necessary antecedent for the development of the more powerful form of bridging social capital. Bonding and bridging social capital can work together productively if in balance, or they may work against each other. As social capital bonds and stronger homogeneous groups form, the likelihood of bridging social capital is attenuated. Bonding social capital can also perpetuate sentiments of a certain group, allowing for the bonding of certain individuals together upon a common radical ideal. The strengthening of insular ties can lead to a variety of effects such as ethnic marginalization or social isolation. In extreme cases ethnic cleansing may result if the relationship between different groups is so strongly negative. In mild cases, it just isolates certain communities such as suburbs of cities because of the bonding social capital and the fact that people in these communities spend so much time away from places that build bridging social capital.

Social capital (in the institutional Robert Putnam
Robert Putnam
Robert David Putnam is a political scientist and professor of public policy at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is also visiting professor and director of the Manchester Graduate Summer Programme in Social Change, University of Manchester...

 sense) may also lead to bad outcomes if the political institution and democracy in a specific country is not strong enough and is therefore overpowered by the social capital groups. "Civil society and the collapse of the Weimar Republic" suggests that "it was weak political institutionalization rather than a weak civil society that was Germany’s main problem during the Wihelmine and Weimar eras." Because the political institutions were so weak people looked to other outlets. “Germans threw themselves into their clubs, voluntary associations, and professional organizations out of frustration with the failures of the national government and political parties, thereby helping to undermine the Weimar Republic and facilitate Hitler’s rise to power.” In this article about the fall of the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

, the author makes the claim that Hitler rose to power so quickly because he was able to mobilize the groups towards one common goal. Even though German society was, at the time, a "joining" society these groups were fragmented and their members did not use the skills they learned in their club associations to better their society. They were very introverted in the Weimar Republic. Hitler was able to capitalize on this by uniting these highly bonded groups under the common cause of bringing Germany to the top of world politics. The former world order had been destroyed during World War I, and Hitler believed that Germany had the right and the will to become a dominant global power.

Later work by Putnam also suggests that social capital, and the associated growth of public trust are inhibited by immigration and rising racial diversity
Multiculturalism
Multiculturalism is the appreciation, acceptance or promotion of multiple cultures, applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place, usually at the organizational level, e.g...

 in communities. Putnam's study regarding the issue argued that in American areas with a lack of homogeneity, some individuals neither participated in bonding nor bridging social capital. In societies where immigration is high (USA) or where ethnic heterogeneity is high (Eastern Europe), it was found that citizens lacked in both kinds of social capital and were overall far less trusting of others than members of homogenous communities were found to be. Lack of homogeneity led to people withdrawing from even their closest groups and relationships, creating an atomized society as opposed to a cohesive community. These findings challenge previous beliefs that exposure to diversity strengthens social capital, either through bridging social gaps between ethnicities or strengthening in-group bonds.

Social capital and reproduction of inequality


Coleman indicated that social capital eventually led to the creation of human capital for the future generation. Human capital, a private resource, could be accessed through what the previous generation accumulated through social capital. Field suggested that such a process could lead to the very inequality social capital attempts to resolve. While Coleman viewed social capital as a relatively neutral resource, he did not deny the class reproduction that could result from accessing such capital, given that individuals worked toward their own benefit. Even though Coleman never truly addresses Bourdieu in his discussion, this coincides with Bourdieu's argument set forth in Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture. Bourdieu and Coleman were fundamentally different at the theoretical level (as Bourdieu believed the actions of individuals were rarely ever conscious, but more so only a result of their habitus being enacted within a particular field, but this realization by both seems to undeniably connect their understanding of the more latent aspects of social capital.

According to Bourdieu, habitus refers to the social context in which as social actor is socialized within. Thus, it is the social platform, per se, that equips one with the social reality they become accustomed to. Out of habitus comes field, the manner in which one integrates and displays their habitus. To this end, it is the social exchange and interaction between two or more social actors. To illustrate this, we assume that an individual wishes to better his place in society. He therefore accumulates social capital by involving himself in a social network, adhering to the norms of that group, allowing him to later access the resources (e.g. social relationships) gained over time. If, in the case of education, he uses these resources to better his educational outcomes, thereby enabling him to become socially mobile, he effectively has worked to reiterate and reproduce the stratification of society, as social capital has done little to alleviate the system as a whole. This may be one negative aspect of social capital, but seems to be an inevitable one in and of itself, as are all forms of capital.

See also


  • Civil society
    Civil society
    Civil society is composed of the totality of many voluntary social relationships, civic and social organizations, and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society, as distinct from the force-backed structures of a state , the commercial institutions of the market, and private criminal...

  • Guanxi
    Guanxi
    Guanxi describes the basic dynamic in personalized networks of influence, and is a central idea in Chinese society. In Western media, the pinyin romanization of this Chinese word is becoming more widely used instead of the two common translations—"connections" and "relationships"—as neither of...

  • Liberal democracy
    Liberal democracy
    Liberal democracy, also known as constitutional democracy, is a common form of representative democracy. According to the principles of liberal democracy, elections should be free and fair, and the political process should be competitive...

  • Pierre Bourdieu
    Pierre Bourdieu
    Pierre Bourdieu was a French sociologist, anthropologist, and philosopher.Starting from the role of economic capital for social positioning, Bourdieu pioneered investigative frameworks and terminologies such as cultural, social, and symbolic capital, and the concepts of habitus, field or location,...

  • Cultural capital
    Cultural capital
    The term cultural capital refers to non-financial social assets; they may be educational or intellectual, which might promote social mobility beyond economic means....

  • Reed's law
    Reed's law
    Reed's law is the assertion of David P. Reed that the utility of large networks, particularly social networks, can scale exponentially with the size of the network....

  • Cultural economics
    Cultural economics
    Cultural economics is the branch of economics that studies the relation of culture to economic outcomes. Here, 'culture' is defined by shared beliefs and preferences of respective groups. Programmatic issues include whether and how much culture matters as to economic outcomes and what its relation...

  • Economics of religion
  • Sociology of religion
    Sociology of religion
    The sociology of religion concerns the role of religion in society: practices, historical backgrounds, developments and universal themes. There is particular emphasis on the recurring role of religion in all societies and throughout recorded history...


External links