The cultural context of social capital

Opinion piece on the Australian cultural context and its implications for social capital As a geographer and social theorist I have spent a lot of time reading and thinking about Australian culture. For a few years I taught a university course on Australian culture and spent many hours exploring the issues with students in tutorial …

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Putnam on social capital – democratic or civic perspective

Robert David Putnam (1941-) is an American political scientist most famous for his controversial publication Bowling Alone, which argues that the United States has undergone an unprecedented collapse in civic, social, associational, and political life (social capital) since the 1960s, with serious negative consequences. Putnam is generally credited with popularized the term social capital. Putnam …

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Coleman on social capital – rational-choice approach

James Coleman (1926 – 1995) was an American sociologist who was primarily interested in the sociology of education and public policy. Like Bourdieu, Coleman was interested in different types of capital and their interaction, namely human, physical and social capitals. The aim of Coleman’s concept of social capital was to import the economists’ principle of …

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Bourdieu on social capital – theory of capital

Pierre Bourdieu (1930 – 2002) was a French sociologist and public intellectual who was primarily concerned with the dynamics of power in society. His work on the sociology of culture continues to be highly influential, including his theories of social stratification that deals with status and power. Bourdieu was concerned with the nature of culture, …

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Grabbing at the wind: the power forces of social capital

Is attempting to capitalise on social capital just like grabbing at the wind? It’s not particularly tangible and a powerful force that doesn’t always blow the way you want. I have no doubt that social capital is missing from most corporate balance sheets and is certainly a factor that all organisations should take seriously due …

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trust

How is social capital destroyed?

Social capital can be very easily destroyed. It can take a long time to build social capital through repeat positive actions and interactions, but it can be destroyed by a single action. Generally social capital is lost or damaged by anything that reduces feelings of goodwill or disrupts networks. Any action that is antisocial. Anything …

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How does one obtain social capital?

Social capital is obtained by building goodwill. This is the simplest way to describe how someone can build or obtain social capital. Social capital can be observed at the level of the individual, group or community. At the individual level social capital is best understood as resources made available or accessed through social relationships. For …

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Why is social capital so important?

Social capital has been described as a lubricant that facilitates getting things done. It allows people to work together and to access benefits from social relationships. Social capital allows modern economies to function efficiently. Our society, economy, institutions, and political system could not exist without social capital. Social capital refers to the internal social and …

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What does it mean to measure social capital?

To measure social capital means to attempt to quantify the stock of social capital in a given context. Unfortunately, there is considerable debate and controversy over the possibility, desirability, and practicability of measuring social capital. The measurement of social capital is closely linked to its definition and conceptualisation – both of which are contested in …

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What does it mean to build social capital?

To build social capital means to improve social structures and social attitudes, values and behaviours. Building social capital means different things at different levels. At the individual level building social capital involves the actions and intentions of the individual. At the societal level building social capital relates to social structure and organisation which tends to …

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