General

General articles about social capital and related concepts including its research and operationalisation. Research on social capital is relevant to a wide range of discipline areas including sociology, social policy, political science, economics, etc.

What is social capitalism?

Social capitalism is any capitalist system that is structured with the ideology of liberty, equality, and justice. Instead of aiming to accumulate only economic forms of capital, it explicitly values all forms of capital, including social capital, human capital, and natural capital. Instead of maximising profit for the 1%, it involves profit maximisation for all …

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Social connection and the COVID-19 pandemic Impacts on social capital

With the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, many people are now facing the prospect of various forms of social isolation in the immediate future. People are being encouraged to maintain physical distance from others to limit the spread of the virus. Some countries have implemented lockdowns that include banning public gatherings, cancelling …

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Social isolation during a pandemic Challenges and opportunities during COVID-19 lockdown

There are significant barriers to the effective adoption of technology to alleviate social isolation resulting from COVID-19 ‘social distancing’, particularly among those people who were already socially isolated. The barriers most cited in the literature on the use of technology to remedy social isolation are (i) lack of support and training to use technology, (ii) …

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Social sanctions – overview, meaning, examples, types and importance

A social sanction is a social reaction of approval or disapproval in response to someone’s actions. Social sanctions enforce a standard of behaviour that is deemed socially acceptable and this is essential for society to regulate itself and maintain order. Social cohesion and cooperation depend on social sanctions and they are essential for organisations, social …

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China’s Social Credit System An ambitious attempt to build social capital

China is developing a social credit system (SCS), a national reputation system that aims to promote the traditional virtues of integrity, discourage dishonesty, and build an environment of trust. The SCS will utilise big-data enabled surveillance infrastructure to manage, monitor, and predict the trustworthiness of citizens, firms, organizations, and governments. The scheme has attracted considerable …

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What is the difference between social capital and social cohesion?

There are a lot of similarities between the concepts of social capital and social cohesion. Both are defined in vastly different ways by different authors, both are conceptually vague, and both relate to social setting and social structure. Depending on how you define the concepts there can be considerable overlap between them, leading some authors …

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Social capital and poverty alleviation

Social capital is a vital asset for those in poverty since it can provide access to that which is lacking: capital. Poverty is a state or condition in which a person or community lacks the capital required to meet their needs. Clearly the poor would benefit from more of all forms of capital. However, social …

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Current definitions of social capital Academic definitions in 2019

In 2004 I wrote an article about the definitions of social capital and included a table of definitions from Adler & Kwon (2002). The article is still one of the most popular online, which is evidence that definition continues to be a challenging area for newcomers to social capital. Now, 15 years later, I was …

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Solving sustainability with social capital? A paradoxical reframing of modernity?

In 1962 Rachel Carson published the book Silent Spring which thrust environmental problems into public awareness and is widely credited with inspiring the environmental movement. Yet nearly 60 years later it doesn’t seem there has been much progress towards sustainability. There has been extensive scientific investigation of environmental issues and leading scientists have twice (1992 …

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Sources of Social Capital What causes or creates social capital?

Much of the literature on social capital poorly distinguishes its source from its form and consequences. It can be very difficult to make these distinctions since many social phenomena involve complex interrelationships with complicated cyclic, relational, and mutual causality. This article discusses a wide range of sources of social capital, some of which may represent …

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