Social Capital – explained

This page is in beta – as most of our life 🙂

Where to start?

  • There is a Wikipedia entry of course – Social Capital, it is really cool, with all the theories and history – but very very long.
  • Then there are videos – find to of them on the bottom of this page. Please tell us if you find better clips. Comment is free. Thank you!
  • Research: If you want to dig really deep into the academic discourse and controversies you might like this portal

Quick start

The following text is simply taken from – not bad for a fast orientation.

What does “social capital” mean?
The central premise of social capital is that social networks have value. Social capital refers to the collective value of all “social networks” [who people know] and the inclinations that arise from these networks to do things for each other [“norms of reciprocity”].

How does social capital work?
The term social capital emphasizes not just warm and cuddly feelings, but a wide variety of quite specific benefits that flow from the trust, reciprocity, information, and cooperation associated with social networks. Social capital creates value for the people who are connected and – at least sometimes – for bystanders as well.

Social capital works through multiple channels:
Information flows (e.g. learning about jobs, learning about candidates running for office, exchanging ideas at college, etc.) depend on social capital norms of reciprocity (mutual aid) are dependent on social networks. Bonding networks that connect folks who are similar sustain particularized (in-group) reciprocity. Bridging networks that connect individuals who are diverse sustain generalized reciprocity. Collective action depends upon social networks (e.g., the role that the black church played in the civic rights movement) although collective action also can foster new networks. …

Source / Read more here:

You see, it is really important to understand the workings of social capital, if you want to understand the social world, the network society of today, the success and failure of local communities, social initiatives, the digital social networks etc.!

Source of illustration in header (graphics modified):

Videos about Social Capital

2 minute video

Another 2 minute video


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