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Social capital, attachment value, and symbols

Exploring Social Capital Podcast
Exploring Social Capital Podcast
Social capital, attachment value, and symbols

Ep 9. Social capital relates to how people are connected and the relationships between people. One way we are connected is through symbols or items that have value beyond market value because of the meaning and significance attributed to them. Where this meaning is related to connections between people, it is an important component of social capital.

Tristan and Lindon explore how attachment value can also be negative, using the example of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which led to a negative attachment value towards ExxonMobil. This concept is likened to symbolic value, where items or symbols carry meaning and significance that connect people and enhance social capital.

They discuss how attachment value can be created through rituals, symbols, and shared experiences, such as sporting events where fans wear team colors. These practices foster a sense of belonging and connection among people. Additionally, the conversation touches on the ethical issues surrounding the commodification of attachment value goods, such as selling kidneys or buying one’s way into a prestigious university.

Tristan emphasizes that attachment value applies not only to physical items but also to intangible aspects like names, language, and rituals, which can create strong social bonds. Lindon agrees, noting that these attachment values play a significant role in everyday life and are essential for building and maintaining social capital.

They conclude by discussing how decisions are influenced by multiple needs and reasons, using the example of blood donation, where people might donate blood for relational goods or monetary compensation. The episode highlights the complexity of human actions and the importance of recognizing the multifaceted nature of attachment value and social capital.

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