Sociology Index

Social Capital

Social capital is ‘trust, norms and networks’ that facilitate cooperation for mutual benefit - Putnam

Social capital is an analogous term to human capital, which was itself created by analogy to the term physical capital - Michael B. Spring

The term social capital is now common among political and academic elites. The term social capital is unfamiliar to the general public. Physical capital in an organization would be the things that are owned by the corporation - the computers, buildings, manufacturing equipment, so on. There are well defined measures by which the value of the physical capital might be defined.

"Capital can present itself in three fundamental guises: as economic capital, which is immediately convertible into money and may be institutionalised in the form of property rights; as cultural capital, which is convertible, on certain conditions, into economic capital and may be institutionalised in the form of educational qualifications; and as social capital, made up of social obligations (‘connections’), which is convertible, in certain conditions, into economic capital and may be institutionalised in the form of a title of nobility." - Bourdieu.

The human capital in an organization consists of the workers in an organization. There are a variety of measures by which human capital might be measured. Intertwined with the human capital would seem to be another kind of capital. We might imagine a widget salesman in Pittsburgh who does a wonderful business, but fails to sell widgets in Cleveland. We might further imagine that over the years in Pittsburgh, the salesman developed relationships with clients that allowed for high sales. Moving to Cleveland, the salesman now had to complete with another widget salesman who had extensive relationships with his or her clients. People continued, in a reasonably competitive market to work with the person they knew and trusted. These relationships of trust might represent social capital squandered when the salesman left Pittsburgh, and an example of the competition between social and human capital in Cleveland.

Well, that may be one example of social capital. Think about the person who always seems to know someone with whom they can barter or get something wholesale. Why? Is it magic or is it something that might be described as social capital. We could call it friendships. We could call it pay backs. We could call it social capital - investment in a relationship.

"The function identified by the concept of ‘social capital’ is the value of these aspects of social structure to actors as resources that they can use to achieve their interests" - Coleman. Coleman defines social capital, not by what it is, but by what it does.

Human Capital is the talents and capabilities that individuals contribute to the process of production. Human capital also refers to the sum total of skills and knowledge embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value. Companies, governments and individuals can invest in this human ‘capital’ just as they can invest in technology and buildings or in finances.

Social Capital Abstracts

Measuring social capital: Towards a theoretically informed measurement framework for researching social capital in family and community life. by Wendy Stone. Research paper no.24, Australian Institute of Family Studies.
To inform the Institute's Families, Social Capital and Citizenship project, this paper contributes to the development of clear links between theorised and empirical understandings of social capital by: establishing a theoretically informed measurement framework for empirical investigation of social capital; and reviewing existing measures of social capital in light of this framework. The paper concludes with a statement of guiding principles for the measurement and empirical investigation of social capital in family and community life.

Community formation and social capital in Australia , Dimitria Giorgas. This paper explores ethnic community formation and social capital among six groups: Germans, Dutch, Hungarians, Poles, Italians and Greeks. It argues that social capital within the family is particularly important in overcoming deficiencies in other forms of capital; although it can only be successfully utilised when close relations exist between parents and children. Thus cultures that place greater emphasis on the family and are collectivist in nature, such as Greeks and Italians, are more likely to utilise social capital. In contrast cultures that have an individualistic focus, for example, Germans and Hungarians, are more likely to under-invest in social capital.

Social Capital: Reviewing the Concept and its Policy Implications
Productivity Commission Research Paper released on 25 July 2003, 100pp. Contents include The conceptual literature on social capital; The empirical evidence on social capital; Social capital and policy analysis; Some policy ideas aimed at enhancing social capital.

Towards and theorised understanding of family life and social capital, Ian Winter. Families are typically thought of as the wellspring of civil society and an important source of social capital. The aim of this Working Paper is to bring the relationship between families and social capital under some scrutiny. The paper defines the concept of social capital and reviews the literature on social capital within and beyond family networks.

Social Capital: The missing link, Christian Grootaert (World Bank). SCI Working Paper No. 3, April 1998. It has now become recognized that the "traditional" types of capital (natural, physical and human) determine only partially the process of economic growth because they overlook the way in which the economic actors interact and organize themselves to generate growth and development. The missing link is social capital.

Measuring social capital towards a theoretically informed measurement framework for researching social capital in family and community life, Wendy Stone. Is is available as a PDF version. This publication provides a review of measurement tools and a theoretical framework for future social capital research.

Social Capital as Credit - Social capital, or aggregate reputation, is a form of credit. Some formal transactions can be supported by social capital. Informal transactions are rarely underpinned by financial credit or legal agreement and instead rely entirely on social capital. We all have our internal calculators keeping tacit track of who is doing wrong and who is doing right, the health of the relationships and adjusting our actuarial tables according to experience.

Books On Social Capital

Gender And Social Capital (Gender Politics--Global Issues) Book by Brenda O'Neill, Elisabeth Gidengill, Elisabeth Gidengil (Editors)

Social Capital: Critical Perspectives Book by Stephen Baron, John Field, Tom Schuller

Achieving Success Through Social Capital: Tapping Hidden Resources in Your Personal and Business Networks Wayne E. Baker

Social Capital : A Theory of Social Structure and Action (Structural Analysis in the Social Sciences) Book by Nan Lin, Mark Granovetter

Knowledge and Social Capital: Foundations and Applications Book by Eric Lesser

Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society Book by Robert D. Putnam (Editor)

Social Capital and Information Technology Book by Marleen Huysman, Volker Wulf (Editors)

Social Capital Versus Social Theory: Political Economy and Social Science at the Turn of the Millenium Book by Ben Fine

Creation and Returns of Social Capital: A New Research Program Henk Flap, Beate Volker (Editor)

Social Capital and Democratic Transition (Routledge Studies of Societies in Transition) Book by Gabriel Badescu, Eric M. Uslaner

Conflict, Social Capital And Managing Natural Resources: A West African Case Study   Keith M. Moore (Editor)

Religion As Social Capital: Producing the Common Good Book by Corwin E. Smidt

In Good Company: How Social Capital Makes Organizations Work Don Cohen, Laurence Prusak

Players in the Public Policy Process : Nonprofits as Social Capital and Agents Book by Herrington J. Bryce

Generating Social Capital: Civil Society and Institutions in Comparative Perspective Book by Dietlind Stolle, Marc Hooghe

Social Capital (Key Ideas) Book by John Field

Black Social Capital: The Politics of School Reform in Baltimore, 1986-1998 Book by Marion Orr

Social Capital and Poor Communities Book by Susan Saegert (Editor), J. Phillip Thompson (Editor), Mark R. Warren (Editor)

Social Capital: A Multifaceted Perspective Book by Ismail Serageldin, Partha Dasupta

The Creation And Destruction Of Social Capital: Entrepreneurship, Co-Operative Movements and Institutions Book by Gunnar Lind Haase Svendsen, Gert Tinggaard Svendsen

Brokerage and Closure: An Introduction to Social Capital Book by Ronald S. Burt

Social Capital Book by David Halpern - Social capital has become a buzzword among political and academic elites, though the term remains relatively unfamiliar to the general public

Social Capital And Entrepreneurship Book by Philip H. Kim, Howard E. Aldrich

Social Capital and Lifelong Learning Book by John Field.

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